by Ella IDE
FLORENCE: Diamond and ruby-studded jewellery crafted by celebrated Italian master goldsmiths Mario and Gianmaria Buccellati and inspired by Renaissance great Benvenuto Cellini are going on show for the first time.
More than 130 pieces designed by father and son, including pearl scorpions, silver chalices as well as silk and gold evening bags, can be seen from Tuesday at the Pitti Palace in Florence, a stone’s throw from the Ponte Vecchio.
Mario Buccellati founded the company in 1919, drawing inspiration for his designs and gold-working techniques from Roman and Renaissance period artworks, creating a wealth of unique pieces sought after by popes and princesses alike.
He went on to open stores in Rome, Florence and New York and on his death the business was taken up by four of his sons — one of whom, Gianmaria, launched his own brand in 1971 and took dozens of young, budding artisans under his wing.
While the company has recently made efforts to capture a new, modern market by releasing jewel-studded covers for iPhones and iPads, this collection focuses on the brand’s heritage.
“I have designed over 200,000 jewels in my life. Which is the most interesting or beautiful? Which represents me the most?” Gianmaria Buccellati, 85, said as he unveiled the exhibition in the Tuscan city on Monday.
“I cannot say. It would be like asking a mother which child she prefers,” he told AFP, his voice cracking with emotion. Each of the pieces on show is unique and was designed as part of his personal collection, not to be sold.