Buccellati is a long-established family brand from Milan, that specialises in handcrafting the finest in Italian jewellery. Founded in 1919 by Mario Buccellati, who was known as the “Prince of Goldsmiths”, the brand is renowned for its exquisite jewellery-making technique and design, dating back to the Italian Renaissance.
Inspired by Venetian art and aspects of both the low and high Renaissance eras, Buccellati’s classic designs feature luxurious fabrics, delicate damask and Venetian lace infused onto silky surfaces by its iconic engraving techniques. They also seamlessly blend into contemporary lifestyles, as witnessed when South Korean actress and fashion icon Ha Ji-won was most recently seen at the 74th Venice Film Festival sporting Buccellati’s elegant yellow gold pendant earrings to promote her new film, the John Woo-directed Manhunt.
The earrings bore Buccellati’s signature Rigato engravings – precise parallel lines that are delicately engraved onto the precious yellow gold metal, set with white gold bezels. Eight round brilliant-cut diamonds set in tiny star-shaped rosettes neatly embellished the glamour of the pieces and the occasion. China’s Gansu Gangtai Holding Group bought a controlling 85 per cent share in Buccellati in 2016 and plans to open 88 monobrand stores, 30 of which will be in Greater China. #legend spoke to creative director Andrea Buccellati about this storied brand.
Do you remember scenes from your childhood watching your grandfather or father work? Can you describe them?
I remember sitting beside my father and he tried to explain to me all the decorative techniques for jewellery.
You started working with your father at a very young age. Did you ever consider doing anything else?
I have always had this passion and I never considered doing something else. And that is because I have always been working with my father.
Buccellati is a brand that has been handed from father to son for generations. What advice did your grandfather pass on to your father that he passed onto you?
More than advice, I inherited creativity and the knowledge of jewellery techniques, which are the basis for good design. And I inherited the importance of having good relations with our artisans.
What was the best advice your father ever gave you?
So many! But above all, he kept telling me that to have success, you have to work with passion.
Which was the first collection you designed for Buccellati? What was the inspiration?
It was not a collection, but rather some one-of-a-kind jewels. I don’t remember exactly which one, but maybe it was a set composed of a ring, a pair of earrings and a bracelet, that my father named the Andrea pattern.
Your grandfather was very much inspired by the Renaissance period. What about you?
The Renaissance has always been a reference point for all of us. I like it very much from an artistic point of view and for the inspiration it gives.
Are you a fan of art? Do you collect any specific art pieces?
I like art very much, above all the pencil drawings dating back to the Renaissance.
Can you tell us more about the family vault?
They are all very particular, one-of-a-kind heritage objects.
Are these pieces of jewellery the Buccellati family has collected over the years?
They are extraordinary pieces, and each one of them has all the characteristics that express the Buccellati tradition and style.
Do you take inspiration from the archives when you design?
Sometimes yes. I like going back to certain periods, so I find out some drawings and I try to render them more modern.
Your daughter now also co-designs with you. What is it like to work with her and what does she bring to the table?
As a father, it is wonderful and fully satisfactory to work with my daughter. I see her creativity grow up, always sticking to the Buccellati tradition. There is a continuity with her, I can feel it. Designing with her is constructive for both of us: I transfer to her my experience and she gives me new inspirations, which are closer to the younger generations.
Did she share your interest in jewellery making when she was young?
Yes, she has always been passionate about art and design. After her art studies, she approached the jewellery world and started designing.
Who do you design Buccellati jewellery for? Who is the Buccellati woman?
The Buccellati woman is elegant and classy, and never wants to show off. She likes art and, of course, Buccellati jewels.