Malta’s jewellery industry embodies the essence of enterprising spirit and exceptional artisanal talent and the craftwork of local jewellers is well respected and sought after.
Malta has fostered several local jewellery brands. These include both talented individuals going their own way establishing a brand in their name, and other building a multi-outlet business. Local brands both cater to a strong domestic market and are also capable of meeting the needs of international demand.
While there is a scarcity of data on the size of the jewellery industry, the growing number of brands indicates a healthy economic sector, where several enterprising individuals are finding opportunities to grow.
The jewellery industry does not have a dedicated organisation to represent it, or artisans for that matter. This could lead to challenges in making industry-specific concerns heard at key decision-making avenues which impact the industry.
Given Malta’s scarcity of local raw materials, supply chain issues for the industry are of particular importance, concerning the access of raw materials such as gem stones, precious metals.
However, there does exist a Government entity that seeks to support the local artisans.
The Malta Crafts Foundation was established by the Government in 2021 under the auspices of the Ministry for the Economy, EU Funds and Lands.
It is dedicated to enabling the preservation, appreciation and sustainability of Maltese artisanal products and skills. At time of writing, it is still developing a national strategy for the sector and is prepare a strategy document which will be made available for public consultation in the coming months.
In addition to holding a number of events to strengthen the local artisan industry, it also assists in the operations of local artisans based in the Ta’ Qali Artisan Village, and the Ta’ Dbieġi Artisan Village.
The most known brand in the industry is Mvintage, a local firm founded by Krystle Penza which has integrated the values of female empowerment into its brand, mixed with Maltese heritage.
The firm has grown from strength to strength and today is present in seven different locations across Malta and Gozo, and is open to franchise opportunities.
Other renowned local brands include Carisma, Gaba, Kika and many more.
While some brands have their own physical stores, others are mainly established online and set-up shop in Malta’s many pop-up artisan markets.
Filigree is a traditional form of craftmanship which is characterised by intricate, lace patterns created using fine wires of silver and gold. Locally, the craft dates back to Phoenician times, and over centuries, local artisans have honed the craft.
Fine wires of silver and gold are meticulously shaped and soldered to create delicate coils and motifs, creating elaborate designs. The most common local symbol is the Maltese Cross.
If one’s lucky, they may come across artisans working on their latest creations at the Ta Qali Craft’s Village.
Jewellery can either be manufactured, or it can be handmade. Most anybody with a keen interest in creating jewellery products by can get started with a basic kit and start experimenting. However, as with craft, time and energy needs to be invested to hone one’s skills to create products which can compete on the market.
To get a head start, one can occasionally come across workshops spreading basic knowledge on how to craft jewellery, as there are only a few accredited courses in the craft.
The Malta College of Arts, Science & Technology (MCAST) is one institution which provides a diploma in jewellery making on a regular basis through an intermediate-level course.
Furthermore, those looking to learn the traditional art of filigree jewellery can find a range of course providers, such as Saliba’s Gold and Silversmith.
However, if one can’t wait for a course, then a number of jewellery store provide a selection of raw materials which can be purchased to kick-off a jeweller’s journey.
The future of Malta’s jewellery industry appears promising, with several factors indicating sustained growth. The country’s commitment to quality artisanship, combined with its ability to blend tradition with innovation, gives Maltese jewellery a unique competitive edge in the global market.
By embracing online e-commerce platforms, jewellers aren’t solely limited to the domestic market.
While the Maltese Cross is an internationally recognised symbol, local brands still have quite some work ahead of them to become internationally recognisable, even for the country’s largest players.
Furthermore, the lack of a Government strategy and organisations to support the industry may be holding it back. As an industry lacking representation, its voice may be missing from discussions which could benefit from its insights.
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