Buccellati Retrospective: The Story Behind the Prince of Goldsmiths Exhibition

In honour of its 100th anniversary, Italian jewellery brand Buccellati has announced the opening of an exhibit entitled 'The Prince of Goldsmiths, Rediscovering the Classics' in Venice from April 18 to June 18. With the inauguration occurring in tandem with the opening of the Venice Art Biennale, this exhibit will display the history of Buccellati in the world of luxury goods, including silverware, goldsmithing and, most excitingly for us – fine and high jewellery. Let’s look at what the brand has in store for us…

This year’s edition of the Venice Art Biennale will launch alongside the opening of an exhibit dedicated to honouring the 100th birthday of Milanese high jewellery house Buccellati. Those who admire Italian craftsmanship are guaranteed a feast of Buccellati treasures, from decorative household objects to unique high jewellery and heritage pieces that explore the brand’s distinctive motifs and unpack what it means for a jewel to be ‘classic’.

Buccellati fans and those new to the brand can expect a full retrospective, starting from its birth in 1919 to the present day. The exhibit takes the name of “the Prince of Goldsmiths” in honour of the nickname that influential 20th-century poet and writer Gabriele D’Annunzio gave to the brand’s founder Mario Buccellati in 1936.

“The classics are a bridge thrown between the past and the future and are also evidence of an original style to be perpetuated in times to come,” Andrea Buccellati, creative director.

The jewels on display are one-of-a-kind creations that represent the evolution of the Buccellati style throughout the four family generations that have steered the brand since its birth, focusing on its ability to recover, promote and reinvent ancient Renaissance artistry techniques. The first to grab our attention is a handcrafted Mario Buccellati tiara from the 1920s, crafted in gold-lined silver engraved with vines and set with rose-cut diamonds and baroque pearls. This symbol of Milanese aristocracy and elegance came back into Buccellati’s possession from a member of the ‘Italian bourgeoisie’.

Buccellati gold-lined silver, pearl and diamond tiara designed by Mario Buccellati

Other historic pieces include the very first model of Mario Buccellati’s flexible honeycomb bracelet from the 1920s, with which he managed to ‘translate the extreme delicacy of tulle fabrics into precious metal. Alongside the bracelet is a selection of one-of-a-kind rings from the same era, heralding beautiful rubies and zircon set in yellow gold and silver stems, resembling the Corinthian columns that were the first logo of Buccellati.

Continuing through the exhibit, onlookers will find other historic cuff bracelets from the 1950s set with rubies and precious gems. What makes these pieces stand out is the use of the Rigato technique to create a textured finish. The brand’s inhouse goldsmiths use a steel cutting tool to mark the surface of the gold with spaced out parallel lines, creating brightness and sparkle. These specific bracelets inspired the recognisable Macri collection bracelets as well as reflect Mario’s fascination with the natural world. This love of flora and fauna can also be seen in a spectacular butterfly brooch made of gold, silver and baroque pearls, with openwork wings to create the natural movement of the insect.

Buccellati High Jewellery Macri cuff bracelet in gold, white gold and diamond, alongside a Buccellati butterfly brooch in gold, silver, baroque pearl and diamond

In addition to these important historic creations, jewellery lovers will find more modern creations from the House of Buccellati, including high jewellery pieces from the 2015 Art collection to its most recent Mosaico creations of 2023, which launched during Paris Haute Couture Week in July 2023. Inspired by some of the most iconic jewels created by Mario in the 1920s which were modelled in the image of Byzantine-era mosaics, each piece in the collection is Andrea’s reinterpretation of those important archival pieces. Using those same architectural shapes, Andrea redefines Buccellati flexible bracelets, bib-necklaces, cocktail rings and pendants by inventing new designs made of cardinal and precious gems in a mix of carat weights to create unique patterns.

Finally, Buccellati will also present a first for the brand: a Butterfly designed by current creative directors Andrea Buccellati and his daughter Lucrezia fusing the original inspirations of Mario Buccellati with the advances in technology and design that the Maison has made to date.

The Prince of Goldsmiths, Rediscovering the Classics’ by Buccellati will take place from April 18 to June 18, 2024, at OFICINE 800 on the Giudecca Canal, Venice. More information about attending can be found here: www.oficine800.it

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