Made in Italy. What is it about these three words that make our hearts go aflutter? Having window-shopped the side streets near Piazza San Marco in Venice recently, I can attest to its endless objects of desire. Exotic shoes with lipstick-shaped and pearl-studded heels, the earthy scents of gorgeous leather handbags and the smartly-cut jackets made of the richest textiles were all a feast for my senses; however, nothing quite captures my heart like Italian-made jewelry. The international Italian jewelry trade show, Vicenza Oro, which is held in the city of Vicenza and coincides with Milan Fashion Week, was the reason for my visit to Italy. In his address to the international press at the show, Vicenza’s mayor, Achille Variati, spoke of Italy’s reputation for creating beautiful things and said with deep conviction, “Beauty will save the world.” It’s a thought that stayed with me as I met with several Italian jewelry companies and designers at the show, and it’s one that grew into my realization that the very act of creating beauty is a cultural value among the Italians. And this is where every piece of jewelry made in Italy gets its start – it must be gorgeous. Some of my favorite made-in-Italy jewelry pieces are highlighted below, showcasing other notable qualities of Italian high jewelry: luxurious materials, centuries-old traditional craftsmanship, innovation and elaborate designs.
Palmiero 18K white gold Hummingbird necklace, earrings and ring with 17.5 carats white diamonds, 9 carats sapphires, 38 carats chalcedony and 32.85 carats semiprecious stones, price on request, palmiero.com
Palmiero’s handmade 18K white gold Hummingbird suite of a necklace, earrings and a ring made with white diamonds, sapphires, chalcedony and semi-precious stones, shown above, is a testament to the vivid imagination and minute details employed in Italian-made jewelry. Precision in pavé-set diamonds is also prevalent in Italian-made jewelry, like Leo Pizzo’s handmade 18K white gold snake necklace with black and white pavé-set diamonds. Fearless designs in large-scale pieces are trademarks of Italian designer, Paolo Piovan, as shown below in his breathtaking 18K white gold with palladium (top), 18K white gold (middle) and 18K with yellow gold (bottom) and diamonds Equestrienne collection.
Leo Pizzo 18K white gold Snake necklace with 15.53 carats white diamonds and 16.04 carats black diamonds, price on request, leopizzo.com
Paolo Piovan 18K white gold with Palladium Horse ring with 0.34 carats diamonds (top), 18K white gold with 6.10 carats diamonds (middle) and18K yellow gold with 0.31 carats diamonds (bottom), price on request, paolopiovan.com
Innovation, with use of materials and execution of design, is another foundational element in Italian-made jewelry. Picchiotti chose titanium for its lighter weight and strength when making large-scale designs, creating colors in the titanium through an arduous process, resulting in the masterwork Picchiotti blue titanium ring with mother-of-pearl, diamonds and oval sapphire shown below. Roberto Demeglio holds patents for its spring component that allows its jewelry pieces to twist and pull and retract so that diamond bracelets easily fit over any hand size. The Roberto Demeglio multi-measurement system is another patented device that allows diamond rings to expand and pull back with any finger size, as well as with temperature changes that cause fingers to swell. The stunning Roberto Demeglio 18K white gold and ceramic cuff with pavé diamonds, shown below, is a cuff that, finally, anyone can wear.
Picchiotti Blue Titanium ring with 2.26 carats diamond, 5.07 unheated Sri Lankan sapphire and mother-of-pearl, $78,700, Elizabeth Bruns Jewelers
Roberto Demeglio 18K white gold cuff with 34.80 carats white diamonds and 38.61 carats black diamonds, $119,800, robertodemeglio.com
Italian jewelry craftsmen have been creating exquisite jewelry for millenniums, passing down insights and technical skills from century to century. Each new generation builds upon the old ways of making jewelry with its eyes on the future to create still more beauty that someday, one can hope, may just save the world. Click here for more of my favorite and absolutely gorgeous made-in-Italy jewelry pieces from Utopia, Marco Dal Maso, Pasquale Bruni, Casato, Visconti, Zydo, Falcinelli and Antonini.