MEET OUR MEMBER: MARK VASSALLO
La Valette Club member Mark Vassallo is a jeweller by profession, accredited by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). After working for a number of years in the trade with different companies, he decided that it was time to use the amassed experience to set up his own business, with a partner who was no stranger to the industry himself. Twenty-two years on, jewellery and silver ornament retailer, VASCAS, has become a local household name, and now operates three boutique shops across the island. Mr Vassallo is also the co-founder of a Maltese franchise, which provides high-level disinfection services in the United Kingdom, Mexico, Singapore, Ireland, South Africa, and Ecuador.
What motivated you to set up shop in the jewellery industry?
After a three-year stint selling silver jewellery and silverware wholesale to retailers, my business partner and I forayed into retail ourselves and opened our first shop. The three years we spent going from one outlet to the next all over Malta taught us that the island was missing a one-stop shop that brought jewellery, silverware and high-end homeware under one roof. This observation led us to invest in a shop spread over 1,100 metres and three floors, housing a diamond lounge and different sections for gold, silver jewellery, silverware and high-end homeware. At the time, this enabled us to provide a unique offering locally. The first shop was received well and this prompted us to set our focus on opening another two outlets.
People will soon start shopping around for Christmas gifts. Could you give them an idea of what the top jewellery trends for the season are?
There are various trends, but the vintage look has made a definite comeback. I would say that cameo jewellery and vintage diamond jewellery are all the rage at the moment. Then there are pearls, which are always in demand, and brands such as Mason Tatiana Faberge, which produce finer jewellery. Men’s jewellery is still very limited, but in recent years I have seen an increase in the number of men who are investing in high-end watches and cufflinks.
Which is your favourite winter destination?
I’ve done my fair share of travelling, especially since my line of work necessitates frequent trips abroad, but Italy remains there at the top of the list of places I’ve been to. To narrow it down even further, I would say that Tuscany is the region I never tire of visiting.
La Valette recently inaugurated its revamped lounge. Which is your favourite feature / upgrade?
The lounge has improved enormously, but I think that nothing beats sipping a good coffee or a nice whiskey on one of the comfortable loungers whilst enjoying runway views! The great La Valette team deserve a mention too; their escorting to the gate after a stay in the lounge makes the whole airport experience more complete.Back to Overview