Bewitched and Beloved: Conversation with Jeweler Andrea Buccellati

The greatest feat for Buccellati has been its ability to evolve over the last century while remaining loyal to its traditions and techniques, borrowed from five centuries of Italian art. The artisan jeweler’s roots date back to Mario Buccellati, a goldsmithing legend who opened his first boutique in Milan’s Largo Santa Margherita in 1919. His son Gianmaria Buccellati was the one who transformed the family-owned jewelry business into an internationally renowned luxury brand. The company is still run by Buccellatis to this day: Andrea Buccellati, the son of Gianmaria, and his daughter Lucrezia Buccellati. At just 25 years old, Lucrezia Buccellati was named co-creative director and co-designer at the company in 2014 — the first female designer in the history of this family business, which had previously been run by four generations of male relatives.

In an exclusive interview with Homes & Estates, Andrea Buccellati recently shared his thoughts on carrying on the family tradition of luxury. An excerpt of his interview appears here.

Previews Inside Out What have been some of your most iconic collections over Buccellati’s long history?

Andrea Buccellati Every Buccellati collection has a story; therefore, all our collections are iconic, starting from the oldest ones (such as the Animalier collection) up to the most recent one, the Art collection, inspired by impressionist paintings and displayed in New York last year. We also have the Icona collection, formed of jewels all crafted with our distinguishing marks.

Previews Inside Out Can you briefly trace Buccellati’s history of connecting to the arts world?

Andrea Buccellati Buccellati has always collaborated with museums, because ours is a true goldsmithing art dating back to the Italian Renaissance techniques and tools. Some years ago, we were called by the Museo Poldi Pezzoli in Milan to show how our craftsmen worked on gold. Then, we started to exhibit in the United States in 1995, culminating with the exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington in 2000. In Europe, we exhibited at the Kremlin Museum in 2008; last year, the Gianmaria Buccellati Foundation was hosted with its private collection at Palazzo Pitti in Florence, and now at the Reggia di Venaria in Turin. We also have a permanent exhibition of two brooches (one by Mario and the other one by Gianmaria) at the Silver Hall in Palazzo Pitti.

Previews Inside Out Can you talk about the historic connection among goldsmiths and sculptors, painters and architects in your country?

Andrea Buccellati We are probably the only jewelers who craft jewelry and silverware with the same techniques and tools used during Renaissance times. It takes a lot of time, but the result is precious and unique. As a matter of fact, many Italian artists were painters and sculptors, like Antonio Canova, or goldsmiths who were sculptors, like Benvenuto Cellini. All forms of art interact and interpenetrate, so where the goldsmith finishes, there starts the sculptor or the architect.

Previews Inside Out And without giving away your secrets, can you give us an example of a technique you use today that was borrowed from greats like Brunelleschi and Donatello?

Andrea Buccellati The engraving is one of the most ancient techniques that Buccellati still uses today. It is more evident on jewels with large surfaces, like those in cuff bracelets, but we use it in many variations and on all objects. In fact, you will never see shiny gold at Buccellati; our gold is matte, because it is entirely hand engraved.

ORECCHINI-Ornato_-BLOGPreviews Inside Out Aren’t all of your jewelry designs inspired by the Renaissance, i.e., classical ideals of symmetry, in some way?

Andrea Buccellati Each designer in Buccellati history has always been a member of our family. So each of them, from my grandfather to my daughter Lucrezia today, has had his or her own inspiration that went with the trend of his or her generation. Of course, the Renaissance is one of our sources of inspiration, but a lot of new designs are inspired by impressionism, nature and architecture. For instance, for my daughter Lucrezia, fashion plays a big role in her inspiration.

Previews Inside Out What’s your ultimate dream for Buccellati?

Andrea Buccellati To expand and grow public awareness toward our brand, to show people how different and special our workmanship is, and to maintain our unique techniques in the future.

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