Although the event organizers at Milanez & Milaneze have been running stone industry fairs in the stone-rich state of Espírito Santo, Brazil, for more than two decades, they reached new heights in 2003, when they began holding an annual event in the port city of Vitória. The show became a key destination for the international stone industry, although like many trade fairs, it saw a slowdown concurrent with the economic crisis of the late 2000s. The latest edition of the Vitória Stone Fair, which took place from February 7 to 10, was a major reversal of that trend — if not in sheer numbers, then in the increased activity on the show floor throughout all four days of the event.

According to Milanez & Milaneze, a total of 23,000 people visited the 2012 Vitória Stone Fair — including attendees from 65 different countries — and there was a busy atmosphere on the show floor. These attendees visited with a total of 420 exhibitors at the event, including 110 international firms from 18 different countries.

Exhibitors of natural stone showcased the full spectrum of material from Brazil, including the country’s traditional stone shades of yellow, green, tan, gold and cream. Moreover, the companies at the 2012 Vitória Stone Fair presented a broad range of exotic materials, including varieties of granite and quartzite never before seen in the international marketplace.

Suppliers of technology were also present at the event, offering equipment as well as products such as resins and stoneworking accessories.

“The fair is high level; it once again can be compared with the best international fairs,” said Emic Malacarne, President of the Stone Association of Espírito Santo (Sindirochas) and the Technology Center of Marble and Granite (Cetemag). “The event exceeded expectations, showing the strength of the industry through the quality of Brazilian stones.”

Seeing growth

“For one more year, the fair had a positive result, with an increase of national and international exhibitors. Brazil is in a good moment, and the event proved that,” said Cecilia Milaneze, Director of Milanez & Milaneze.

The facts and figures bear this out. In addition to hearing positive comments from the exhibitors on the show floor — several cited significant growth from January 2011 to January 2012 — the overall statistics show an increase in exports last year. This is compounded by increased demand by the domestic market in Brazil.

According to statistics released at the fair, Brazil exported $999.6 million worth of dimensional stone in 2011, an increase of 4.22% over the previous year. Of this, a total of $708.5 million came from the state of Espírito Santo, an increase of 3.71%.

With the exhibition hall open from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. attendees had the opportunity to visit with the many local stoneworking firms prior to the opening of the show each day.

In addition to the exhibition itself, the Vitória Stone Fair also included a number of conferences. One of these sessions was led by Claudio Broges of Apex-Brasil, the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, and he stressed the need to “brand” the quality and uniqueness of Brazilian stone to influence buyers.

The outlook for next year’s edition of the Vitória Stone Fair is already positive, with large national and international groups already confirming their participation. That event will be held between February 26 and March 1 of 2013.

The latest stones out of Brazil 

Once again, the stone producers at the Vitória Stone Fair used the event as a platform to showcase their latest materials. This included traditional materials — some from newly opened quarries — as well as a wide range of exotics with unique colors and patterning, as well as new textures and finishes. The following is a look at just some of the stones being exported from Brazil. SEE SLIDESHOW