Franco Valobra was born in Lugano, Switzerland and grew up in Torino, Italy, where he trained at the Valobra family’s 100 year-old Jewelry Atelier. After earning a degree in Accounting, he moved to the United States in 1982 to open the first Valobra Jewelry showroom outside of Italy. The new location at 333 Royal Street is in the heart of the French Quarter and is the continuation of a multi-generational business, which was started in 1905 by his great-grandfather Vittorio Valobra, who was the official Jeweler to the Italian Royal Family, the Savoias. A graduate of the Gemological Institute of America, Mr. Valobra opened a new Jewelry showroom in Highland Village in Houston, Texas, in 2006, and in Lugano’s world-renowned Via Nassa in 2012. Valobra Jewelry creations have been prominently featured in Vogue and W magazines and have adorned celebrities at the Oscars and the Emmys.
Mr. Valobra is the founder of the Ferrari Club of Louisiana, for which he served as president for ten years. He is also the founder and co-organizer of the French Quarter Classic, a world-renowned fundraising event organized in New Orleans to benefit cancer research. He organizes and chairs the Highland Village Ferrari Festival in Houston, Texas, an annual event that benefits the Texas Children’s Hospital Cancer Unit and attracts thousands of visitors. He recently received the honor of becoming a Cavaliere della Repubblica, a knighthood bestowed by the President of the Italian Republic.
Today Franco Valobra shares his time between New Orleans, Houston and Lugano. In addition to running the three Jewelry Ateliers, he is heavily involved in fundraising for UNICEF, Citizens for Animal Protection, Pin Oak Charity Event, Krist Samaritan Center, Boys and Girls Harbor, March of Dimes and several other worthwhile causes, with a particular accent to children’s health and well-being-focused charities. He is also a founder and a board member of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Foundation and serves on several boards, including the President’s Council of the Methodist Hospital Group, the Italian-American Chamber of Commerce and several others. Franco Valobra is married to his wife Nancy, and they have two children, a boy, Maximo, and a girl, Luna.