The Italian fine jewellery house Buccellati completes a century of life
Founded by Mario Buccellati in 1919, Buccellati took its first steps as a jewellery display space located in a small shop at Milan’s La Scala theatre. “At that time, gold was very expensive. When people passed by my grandfather’s store, they would ask ‘What are you selling?’ To which my grandfather replied, ‘I’m selling dreams’,” says Luca Buccellati, the current CEO of Mario Buccellati Italia and the third generation at the helm of the business.
Years later, dreams really came true with the opening of the brand’s first high-fashion boutique in Milan, followed by Rome and Florence. Today, it boasts 40 boutiques worldwide and a presence in more than 150 retail outlets. “We were the first Italian company to cross the ocean and go to the US in 1952. [The luxury goods brand] Ferragamo only arrived after us, in 1953,” says Luca Buccellati. “The company is growing fast, but we will never lose our style, our heritage or our identity.”
True to its origins, Buccellati draws inspiration from ancient goldsmithing techniques, with a particular focus on the Renaissance era, to design its pieces, making ingenious reinterpretations of the classic style of that period and creating absolutely unique and distinctive jewellery. Made entirely by hand in Milan, the pieces stand out not only for the engraving techniques, but also for the rare coloured stones and diamonds from around the world. “It is impossible for me to talk about Buccellati creations without linking them to the context where our creativity was born: in our beloved Italy. Our techniques come from five centuries ago. Many renowned artists from this country were goldsmiths before they were sculptors, painters or architects,” revealed the son of the founder, Gianmaria Buccellati, who passed away in 2015.
Although acquired by the Swiss luxury conglomerate Richemont in September this year, the company has continued to be family owned and it is this passing down from generation to generation that has been one of the crucial points for keeping the DNA of the Italian house alive. “The Buccellati family has always had a huge passion for its work. We don’t care about the costs. What we do care about is creating the most beautiful products we can. We are very careful with the quality and knowledge of our artisans. It is very important for us to keep all Renaissance traditions alive. We believe in our style and design; that’s what makes our brand different from others,” says Andrea Buccellati, president and creative director of Buccellati Holding Italia SpA and another of the founder’s grandsons.
Despite this incessant inspiration from times gone by, the house has shown a desire to reach a younger audience. To this end, it has relied on the creativity of Lucrezia Buccellati, creative co-director of the brand, daughter of Andrea and a representative of the fourth generation. It is alongside her father that Lucrezia has been working day after day to interpret the Buccellati style in the best way, giving it a modern twist but never forgetting tradition and craftsmanship. “There is no brand like ours – when we buy a piece of jewellery, we are buying a piece of art. Most of our customers stop buying from other jewellery brands because they realise how different our brand is, even people of my generation who are not usually as loyal to one brand and like to mix several. That’s why our focus is on wearable, simple pieces that are easy to collect,” reveals the young designer.
This year, to mark its 100th anniversary, the Italian house has presented a series of special collections that reflect much of its history. The Vintage collection, which brings together around 200 unique pieces (only half will be for sale), perfectly represents the timelessness that is inherent in their creations. Particularly noteworthy is the crystal necklace designed by Mario Buccellati in the 1920s for the Italian actress Eleonora Duse. Another of the collections presented is the Buccellati Cut, consisting of trademark diamonds with a shape reminiscent of the house logo. For the occasion, Buccellati also designed a limited edition of pendants inspired by its most iconic line: the Opera Color collection.
“From father to son, in fact, we passed technical abilities on, and we cultivated a habit to surprise everyone with our work. f I look at one of our works, I am proud to know that it was designed by Buccellati and handcrafted by our goldsmiths. Looking at it twice, I also notice that over time we become more sophisticated.” These words from Gianmaria Buccellati continue to translate the whole spirit of the centennial house to perfection.