House Of Buccellati
In the hands of Gianmaria Buccellati, Andrea Buccellati and their team of artisans and craftspeople, precious metal is transformed: etched into brocades, festooned into rococo swirls, sculpted into stylized vines and leaves. Any jewel from the Milanese jewelry house is instantly recognizable and impossible to imitate. Whether it is a brooch or a bracelet, a ring, a necklace, or a pair of earrings, the metal work is dazzling: a richly textured, hand-etched yellow or white gold, chased silver, or a combination of metals, spun into an intricate, lacy web accented with diamonds and colored stones.
Buccellati, the renowned company of jewelers and silversmiths known around the world today, was founded in 1919 by Mario Buccellati. He was carrying on a tradition that was already more than a century old: Mario Buccellati was descended from an 18th century goldsmith, Contardo Buccellati, who practiced in Milan. Mario embraced the rich history and time-honored traditions of Italian metalwork, creating jewelry and precious objects inspired by the works of Benvenuto Cellini and other masters of the Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo for illustrious clients including actress Eleanora Duse, ballerina Ida Rubinstein, and poet Gabriele D’Annuzio.
Upon Mario Buccellati’s death in 1965, the company’s design mantle was inherited by his son, Gianmario Buccellati, who is still an important influence on the company.
“Creativity is part of our family,” Andrea explains. “I have worked beside my father since I was thirteen years old. Our family loves what we do; we have never focused on the economic side of the business. We are pure goldsmiths and silversmiths; it gives us a purity of focus and purpose.”
Honoring and preserving their family’s legacy and the traditions of Italian goldsmiths are essential parts of Andrea Buccellati’s work. Each piece designed is executed using the ancient techniques of his forebears. A piece of Buccellati jewelry can take up to two years to complete.
“Our view of jewelry is that it is a work of art, not a commodity,” says Andrea. “In my designs-the stones, the metalwork, the execution – I strive for perfection. We want to express our vision.”
Once Andrea discovers a stone that inspires him, he begins with a sketch, just like his father and grandfather before him. A design could take an hour; he can also labor over a single sketch for weeks if he is not pleased with the results. “Some days you can stare at a piece of paper all day and have no ideas,” he says ruefully. When he is satisfied with his sketch, it is then delivered to the Buccellati craftsmen who execute his 21st century idea with techniques that are 200 years old.