One of the world's major producers of mineral lenses, Barberini Spa, now has a full-fledged Barberini Eyewear division for sunglasses, including RX sunglasses. While the parent company is still headquartered at Silvi Marino in the Abruzzo region of Italy, the new division is based at Santa Marta near Venice in order to be closer to the Italian eyewear district.

The news of the new division was announced at the Mido show in Milan last February, and the operation started with a soft launch on the Italian market. At the Silmo show in Paris, Barberini Eyewear had a dedicated booth for the international market.

Several veterans of the eyewear industry are conducting the new project. Stefano Fabris is at the helm of Barberini Eyewear as general manager. A co-founder of Zerorh+, he left as general manager of Vuarnet Sunglasses, which uses mineral lenses as well, earlier this year. He had joined the company as product manager while it was owned by Alain Mikli, after working for Allison.

Fabris is working with a purchasing manager, Alessandro Fregonese, who was previously in charge of logistics at Vuarnet. Matteo Mohwinckel, a former manager of Marcolin and Viva International, has an exclusive consultancy with Barberini Eyewear for international sales. A former manager of Allison, Federico Parassinotto, is heading up communications. Logistics and administration are still managed by the parent company, but the plan is for Barberini Eyewear to become an independent firm in the near future.

The distribution of the eyewear line outside Italy will be carried out directly with seven agents in France and another seven in Germany, Austria, the Benelux countries, Spain and the U.K.

The frames of Barberini's unglasses are lade by a contract manufacturer in Montebelluna. The line consists of 19 models in 72 variations that retail at between €250 and €350 a pair.

They can be fitted with 35 different types of mineral lenses - all supplied by Barberini, of course. The lenses undergo a special purification process using platinum to remove all impurities from the silicon. The silicon comes from a German factory that Barberini bought from Schott in 2009. Barberini's sunglasses can be mounted with Barberini Corning prescription lenses, which have a higher shock resistance than CR-39.