My memoir “My Charmed Life”, in which jewelry acts as time posts for my most significant moments and memories, ends on a chapter entitled “The Buccellati Ring”. My passion for the hand fabricated and hand engraved pieces that are so intricately detailed they appear to be spun into golden intricate lace, damask and brocades runs deep. This is particularly true about the wide Eternelles variety of bands since I first saw one designed by Mario Bucellati in an auction when I started in the jewelry business nearly 20 years ago. As a collector of all types of rings from ancient and antique through modern, this was the only ring I wanted to be married in. I longed for this romantic band. I waited. I met an Italian guy from Milan, whom I dated for seven years, who had me try on various rings, each one more enchanting and breathtaking than the next. And, then after I tried on about 10 styles, he took me to another shop and committed to buying me an antique Rolex watch. Eventually I committed to purchasing a Buccellati ring for myself to celebrate life.
So, it was perfect, while wearing my Buccellati Pizzo Venezia style ring at the About J show in Venice to have the pleasure of seeing master jeweler Gianmaria Buccellati again (I had interviewed him for a magazine nine years before) against the backdrop of the romantic city,where ancient traditions and the melding of Gothic and Byzantine architecture inspire awe, amazement and the taking of many photos. I was so glad to be there when he received the “Lifetime Achievement Award”, the first edition of a special recognition as part of the Andrea Palladio International Jewellery Awards, with whom VICENZAORO award celebrates the excellence of jewelry.
Last year , I attended a celebration and preview at the multi-generational company Bucellati’s Manhattan based shop, a family of goldsmiths that date back to the mid-eighteenth century and was taken over by Mario Buccellati in 1919. According to Gianmaria Buccellati, in the interview I did with him in 2004, “My father Mario was fascinated by forgotten antique techniques that dated back to Greece and the Middle Ages, but much of his design aesthetic was influenced by the Italian renaissance and French Rococo periods,” Gianmaria explained. “He did not copy or imitate but instead began to put together many of these techniques to create an original signature style.”
Gianmaria passed it down to two more generations, his children and grandchildren. I was equally happy to be part of a family photograph with third and fourth generation Buccellati’s, Gianmaria’s grandchildren and Andrea’s his son’s children and wife, Maria at the NYC event.
As much as I had been taken by the design sensibility, I was equally excited to hear Maria’s feelings about jewelry and being part of this family’s heritage. “Jewelry is all about emotion, passion and love. It’s how a woman connects memories to a specific moment in time and that is what brings a jewel to life,” she explained. I share this sentiment and was eager to hear stories and particularly enjoyed listening about one long-time customer. “Since he has been married, he comes in and buys a unique one-of-a-kind piece each year for his wife.” And then it came to me—why I have always been drawn to the Buccellati style. It is not only the amazing pieces. The Buccellati style represents beauty, but also family, values, history, passion and deep meaning.
When I interviewed Gianmaria those years back and when I recently met him again, he was charming and down to earth and spoke with warmth, pride and the language of tradition. His jewels are not only made of gold and precious gems–they are a legacy that continues to live through quiet elegance and the stories still to be told.