Buccellati celebrates a century of creation in Venice

Apr 15, 2024

1919-2024, celebrating over a century of existence is a long and beautiful story. By inaugurating a magnificent retrospective in a few days’ time, Buccellati is unveiling its heritage and celebrating an entire family committed to respecting Italian jewellery traditions. Through the many pieces on loan for the occasion, it tells the story of the talent of its craftsmen, the perpetuation of know-how and the timelessness of an inimitable style. See you in Venice from 18 April to 18 June 2024

1- Buccellati by Mario

Mario Buccellati founded the company in Milan in 1919. Born in 1891, he moved to Milan with his mother and brothers following the death of his father. He soon began an apprenticeship at Beltrami & Bestani, then based in Via Santa Margherita 5, near La Scala. A few years later, in 1919, he decided that it was time to go his own way and opened his own shop at the same address where he had trained, taking over the business from his bosses.

He developed and promoted the gold lace technique that would soon make him a world-renowned designer and the house famous. In 1925, a second boutique opened in Rome on Via Condotti 30-31. It was run by his brother Carlo. Then, at the end of the 1920s, the brand moved to Via Tornabuoni 71 in Florence. Mario could count on the help of his brother Melchiorre.

Tombac cigarette holder. Circa 1940. Photo: Buccellati

With war looming, it was time to get inventive, as precious materials were becoming scarce. Mario used Tombac, an inexpensive alloy of copper and zinc, to produce low-cost pieces. These pieces were not common on the market, but from time to time they did appear at auction.

After the war, Mario’s three sons joined the family business: Gianmaria, Lorenzo and Federico. They were to contribute to the international expansion of the brand, opening the first boutique in New York in the 1950s, followed by one in Palm Beach. From then on, the story continues to unfold, but I’m not going to tell you everything. However, I invite you to re-read the interview with Andrea Buccellati – Gianmaria’s second son – and his daughter Lucrezia.

2- Buccellati and Gabriele D’Annunzio

Gabriele D’Annunzio and Mario Buccellati formed an incredible friendship. The family archives bear witness to almost 83 letters written between 1922 and 1936, a friendship that resulted from a chance meeting on 2 August 1922 in front of a shop. This hero of the First World War had as eclectic a political career as possible. He is considered one of Italy’s most influential writers and poets.

A great lover of the house, he bought many objects and jewels to give to his wife and admirers. He also had many pieces personalised with words honouring his deeds and featuring some of his most famous mottos. If you don’t know the man, you should read “Fire“, which is certainly his best-known novel. It features Stelio Effrena, a poet and musician who sets out to free himself from all limits and chains, including human pain. His motto: “Create with joy”. This book, set in Venice, recounts the destructive passion that binds the poet to the Foscarina – the tragedienne in all her splendour – and is a fine way to discover and appropriate the style of the man who described Buccellati as “the prince of goldsmiths”.

From left: Federico Giorgio, Maria Luca, Mario Lorenzo and Gianmaria Buccellati at the Jondini country house near Vercelli, in 1961. Photo: Buccellati

3- Buccellati, the exhibition

From 18 April to 18 June, we invite you to discover this century of design. The aim of this exhibition is to rediscover the classics and the DNA of Buccellati, celebrating the company’s taste for ancestral techniques, expressed in all its creative proposals.

In an age of daring jewellery, it is particularly reassuring to admire a House that remains faithful to its style and its craftsmen. It’s a way of proclaiming that, in the end, there’s no need to try too hard to last. “Classics offer the pleasure of rediscovery, evoking worlds of beauty, elegance, art and nature beyond time. To reinterpret them is to reinterpret millennia-old traditions, materials and forms with a contemporary eye. This is the aim of the exhibition, which for us becomes an even more precious moment as it takes place in the evocative setting of Venice. The classics are a bridge between the past and the future, and are also proof of an original style to be perpetuated in the times to come“, this statement by Andrea Buccellati sums up the aim of this first major heritage exhibition for the brand.

Brooch from the brand’s heritage collection. Photo: Buccellati

Four chapters will enable visitors to get to grips with the house’s style and history:

1- The “generations” of the Buccellati family, who over the years, today and in the past, have taken
guide the artistic direction of the House, symbolically represented by the icon of the butterfly,

2- “Elegant galantries and precious accessories in silver and gold” that embody the sense of
elegance over time,

3- “Silver masterpieces” known for the mastery used to give them the
perfect shape and proportions, thanks to the use of ancient embossing and chasing techniques,

4- Finally, “Buccellati jewellery icons” presented as authentic works of art.

I’m already looking forward to discovering the pieces that will be unveiled during this beautiful retrospective. And since I’m such a big fan of the company, I already know I won’t be disappointed! See you in Venice in a few weeks?

See you there!


marie chabrol

Hello my name Is Marie. Speaker, consultant & teacher, I write with passion about the world of jewelry.

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