Renaissance grace and exquisite craftsmanship, Milanese ingenuity and—in the end—Italian style. Telling the story of Buccellati—a family; a tale of beauty and quintessentially Italian creativity—is to tell the story of Milan’s worldwide famous theatre, La Scala. It was there, in a shop opened in 1919 at La Scala, that the maison founder Mario Buccellati, started selling his “dreams.”
As Andrea Buccellati always remembers, “[Mario] didn’t have enough money to display in his windows many jewels with precious stones, so he used rather to show his sketches, his drawings… a master goldsmith and an engraver, he worked on sketches of jewelry and repeated to clients ‘We are selling dreams.’”
In Milan, Ancona-born Mario Buccellati’s ingenuity was in good company with brilliant creative minds including renowned designer Gio Ponti, and artists like Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrà and Giacomo Balla, all who contributed to the vibrant cultural environment where he found inspiration. From rings and necklaces sparkling with pure natural diamonds that seduced many great women in history attending the Prima (the inaugural gala evening of each season at La Scala) to the tiaras that adorned Italian and international royalties, Buccellati’s signature touches that pick up from Botticelli and Raphael paintings abound.
Always exhibiting exquisite craftsmanship and a mix of antique Italian Renaissance-inspired techniques and brilliant intuitions, designs like the Honeycomb, Tulle and Rigato remind us of classical Italian style and elegance; they are precious with gold and gems, but also light like a silk damask or brocade.” And today we still work with the same techniques used by artisans that have been loyal to the maison for generations. The same attention to details that my ancestor Mario used to imagine gold and diamond rings is used to design airy and precious architecture,” continues Andrea who now, with his daughter Lucrezia, works on the creative side of Buccellati on the new generation of the maison. “It’s a team work, and my daughter has helped develop new effortless everyday pieces of jewelry thinking about her friends, a younger generation.”
After Mario, the maison creativity continued with his son Gianmaria and now with Andrea and Lucrezia. As Maria Cristina Buccellati remarks, “creativity has always remained a family matter.”
Maria Cristina explained me how, her father Gianmaria, a true creative spirit “who found inspiration from a landscape, a piece of art or a woman’s attitude, insisted that he would make just five of his famous Macri (a contraction of Maria Cristina’s name) cuffs in a year, no matter”. That’s no matter the demand of jet-setters and celebrities abroad and in the US… Of course Giammaria had promised one to Maria Cristina when turned the right age.
Buccellati’s family story, now reaching into 3rd and 4th generations, is what continues to set it apart. Generation after generation, Italian art and style have been combined in marvelous jewels, including many in the family’s private collection. Pieces like the dragonfly brooch, originally designed by Mario Buccellati for his wife Maria; and the long necklaces referred to as ‘Ombelicali’ that Mario created for his client/friend/inspiration, the Italian famous poet Gabriele D’Annunzio, now reside at the Buccellati foundation.
Once a Roaring Twenties signature, the aforementioned necklaced have since been reimagined. “They are absolutely contemporary also for our times”, adds Luca Buccellati who remembers also how the maison was the ﬁrst Italian luxury brand to go to the US. After the Second World War, Mario, alongside Salvatore Ferragamo and Guccio Gucci, saw the potential of going abroad, to seduce consumers of a new globalized world at its beginning.
In 1951, Mario opened a store on the 51st Street in New York City and a second boutique on the Fifth Avenue. This proved just the start of of a long time Milan-New York liaison. Still hand-crafted, Buccellati now sells worldwide in 19 stores, not to mention is very successful online.
And, of course, people are more and more interested in vintage pieces. “We are constantly searching them through auctions and sales,” continues Luca explaining how “vintage pieces where so revolutionary in their times: bracelet flexible, airy and light though extremely precious and sparkling with pure natural diamonds.”
Classic technique and innovation go hand in hand, like in the “black gold,” the new Dlc treatment on white gold, which offers a perfect set for sparkling diamonds on jewels that can perfectly fit women’s or men’s taste.
For its centennial in 2019, Buccellati creatively dared to launch a brand new diamond cut. Certified by the Gemmological Institute of America, the Buccellati is inspired by the house’s ﬂower-shaped logo and “the airy architecture of Palazzo Ducale in Venice”, as Andrea Buccellati explains. “A diamond, a pure natural new diamond cut was the perfect way to celebrate, of course we asked specialist cutters in Anversa to work on it: the result is a diamond sparkling with its 57 facets, each one is mirrored and every angle respects a strict percentage to optimize the light.” It’s also said that The Buccellati cut, with its inspiration from flowers and nature, asserts the brand’s commitment to sustainability.
From 1919’s Milan to Milan (and the world) today, the Buccellati family has worked with typical “Milanese” dedication and sense of duty to perpetuate its story. From father to son, from the old generations of artisans to the new generations of goldsmiths, Buccellati has succeeded in paying homage to the great classic of the Renaissance while also working for a new generation of jewels lovers.