LITHUANIAN GOLD: Fossilized tree sap, otherwise known as amber, comes in colors ranging from near white to deep brown.
VILNIUS - Residents of Lithua-nia's capital will have the chance to glimpse some dazzling jewels and see the latest in jewelry fashion this March 9 - 12, when the Amber Trip International Baltic Jewelry Show hits the ground in Vilnius. During the event the Reval Hotel Lietuva's conference center will be filled with precious stones and jewelry from all corners of the world, with those from the Baltic states taking center stage.
Amber is considered a home-grown treasure not just in Lithuania but also in Poland, Kaliningrad and even Denmark. Still, Amber Trip shows that Lithuanians can hold their own against rivals for the title of amber central. "Lithuania is the Baltic jewelry capital!" claimed the show's organizer, Giedrius Gunto-rius, noting that even if amber no longer ranks among the world's 10 most popular precious stones, it nevertheless deserves a tribute.
Guntorius says that the event emerged four years ago, primarily as a way to showcase the many facets of amber, the so-called Lithuanian gold. "When I started speaking to Lithuanian jewelers working with amber, they practically forced me to organize the first show," he remembers.
Today Amber Trip has grown into a major international event. Starting with only four countries participating the first year, the show is now hosting 16 countries from such exotic locales as India and Kazakhstan. Organizers never imagined the show would become so popular among foreign jewelers looking for new markets in the Baltics.
But the general public's growing interest in Amber Trip is even more exciting. Visitors with deeper pockets can pick and choose from the designs of more than 150 companies and private jewelers, and those with empty pockets can come for the window-shopping and the glitz.
Guntorius thinks that Amber Trip manages a good balance between the strictly professional and popular audiences. "The first show was oriented more toward professionals, but now we've found a successful formula: Friday is a time for professionals to share their experience and Saturday is the day for the public," he said.
This year the public will get to see the two most expensive dresses in the world 's platinum gowns from Italy valued at around 1 million euros each. The amber pipe collection from St. Petersburg, with pipes collected from all over Europe, will be the envy of every pipe smoker. Those who want to find out more about Indian jewelry traditions can check out the exhibition from Mumbai. And those craving for fashion should come by on March 10 at 7 p.m. to see a synthesis of jewelry and clothing from Lithuanian, Polish, Latvian, Russian and Kazakh designers.
Due to its venue, Amber Trip might feel a little bit crowded this year, noted Guntorius, but he promises next year the show will find a bigger home.
Reval Hotel Lietuva
March 9 's 11, 10 a.m. 's 6 p.m.
March 12, 10 a.m. 's 3 p.m.
Tickets: 10 litas (3 euros)