Buccellati, 100 years of poetry

The House of Buccellati celebrated its centenary in 2019, and is back in the spotlight with a short and original collection, inspired by a friend and client of the House, the Italian poet Gabriele d'Annunzio

Buccellati, 100 years of poetry, a family House that has retained its soul

Buccellati, the famous Italian goldsmith and jeweller, is celebrating their 100th anniversary. Although it has been part of the Richemont Group since 2019, the fourth generation of the family is still involved in the team, ensuring the continuity of the House’s beautiful spirit. To celebrate its centenary, the jeweller wanted to pay tribute to the friendship between founder Mario Buccellati and poet Gabriele d’Annunzio by launching the Ombelicali collection, a limited edition of sautoirs.

A limited edition that is testimony to the friendship between the “king of goldsmiths” and the poet

The Ombelicali collection consists of brightly coloured stone beads that alternate with gold beads and diamonds. In the workshops of the Italian jeweller, working with stones is not new, as shown by the Doge necklace, created with malachite and lapis lazuli, the Muses cup cut from a block of jade and studded with sapphires on a silver base, as well as the large necklaces of the first Ombelicali collection.

The origin of these elegant necklaces dates back to the 1920s, when Gabriele d’Annunzio, a generous aesthete, ordered pieces from Mario Buccellati. The two men were very close; the poet called his friend Mario the “king of goldsmiths” and he exchanged no fewer than 82 letters with him. Some of these are carefully preserved in the archives of the Italian House in Milan.  

Overall, Gabriele d’Annunzio acquired hundreds of pieces, which he liked to engrave with a word for the people they were for. Mario Buccellati himself said that this friendship was very inspiring for him. Beyond a simple friendship, their relationship was enriched by a real artistic interaction. At that time, Milan was a world centre of beauty and innovation, very stimulating for artists, architects, writers, etc. This friendship is a good example of the artistic inspiration generated by the Italian capital. The Ombelicali collection, now revisited, pays tribute to him.

Ombelicali recalls the time when women wore long necklaces over their straight, fitted dresses, which came back into fashion in the late 1960s known as sautoirs. The six unique pieces that make up the new collection continue the style of the first necklaces with a new combination of stones and colours: jade, moonstone, cyanite, opal and onyx combine their soft and luminous colours. One of the most beautiful pieces is made of green jade beads and a rare lavender jade. Between each stone is an intricately carved and sculpted beads of gold flowers, a sign of the typical Buccellati goldsmith’s work.

The goldsmith’s craft

Silver and gold objects, mostly unique pieces, still play an important part in production at the House’s workshops. The carving and sculpting work reproduces textures and materials such as the veins, feathers or fur of animals, with incredible finesse and attention to detail.  The Begonia and Peony brooches boast remarkable and delicate petals with their fully sculpted edges surrounding a realistic and natural looking pistil.

The gold engravings telato, rigato, segrinato, ornato are emblematic of the House and entirely handmade. Made of very thin parallel or perpendicular lines, brocades or chiselled floral motifs, they are combined on the piece, filtering the light in different ways, representing a unique style of absolute elegance.

The piece is hand crafted down to the smallest details, edges, bezels, rings and clasps. All shapes and sizes are suitable for this, imposing cuffs, elegant cocktail rings, gold tulle earrings, the supple lace of the Vittoria and Ducale bracelets, not forgetting the extraordinary, entirely flexible Arlecchino set.

From the Renaissance to Neoclassicism

The sources of inspiration are abundant: Florentine Renaissance, French Gothic, Venetian Baroque, Rococo, Romanticism or Neoclassicism are revealed in the decorative flowers, branches and fabrics, in the Venetian, Bruges or Valenciennes lace, and in the tulle or brocade that adorn the jewellery.

In the workshops, the craftsmen trained by Mario’s own craftsmen have continued the finest traditions of expertise. The Tulle pattern, which built the House’s reputation, is still made by hand, from a gold leaf that has been meticulously re-drilled and wire polished. These pieces, often one of a kind, carry the stamp of the craftsman who made them. When the craftsman does not stamp them, he infuses them with his own style which ultimately makes it possible to recognise who created the jewellery or object.

Tools and chisels used to engrave gold according to Buccellati’s specific techniques

 

When Milan’s jewellery expertise inspired Europe

For this collection which pays tribute to the poet, Andrea and Maria-Cristina Buccellati made the trip to Paris, delighted to present the book « Buccellati, a century of timeless beauty » Ed. Assouline, co-authored by Viviane Becker and Franco Cologni, jewellery historians. “I wanted to make an encyclopaedia, and not just a beautiful book,” says Maria-Cristina Buccellati. In the course of this magnificent work, we find the entire history of the House, the family, the styles, and also details on the tools and the work of the craftsmen and a real perspective on the place Milan has in the world of fashion, beauty and the arts, which is a rarity in this kind of book. A beautiful book.

 

100 years celebrated with a “Buccellati cut” diamond

In collaboration with Taché Diamonds a diamond was specially designed to celebrate this exceptional anniversary. In the shape of a flower, it features the design of the House’s logo. The “Buccellati cut” has 57 facets, the same number as a classic brilliant cut, designed to obtain maximum sparkle and light from the stone. 

Isabelle HOSSENLOPP

 Original publication L’OFFICIEL Horlogerie & Bijouterie March 2022, modified in April 2022

The photos are the property of Buccellati. Any reproduction of text and photos is forbidden.