Inside Buccellati’s Centuries-Old Heritage of Jewellery Craftsmanship

Milanese brand Buccellati draws on its mastery of Renaissance-era jewellery-making techniques to create pieces that meld tradition, history and style

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Buccellati draws on its mastery of Renaissance-era jewellery-making techniques to create pieces that meld tradition, history and style

The year was 1919, and Mario Buccellati, nicknamed the Prince of Goldsmiths, founded the maison Buccellati in Milan, just steps from La Scala Theatre. Building on his expertise in antique goldsmithing techniques, acquired during his apprenticeship at the Milanese jeweller Beltrami e Besnati, Mario set out to revive an appreciation of Renaissance-era jewellery styles and craftsmanship, and now, more than a century later, his namesake brand is continuing that mission.

Now helmed by the third and fourth generations of the Buccellati family, ensuring a continued connection to the maison founder and his vision, Buccellati is inspired by and specialises in Renaissance-era jewellery, particularly its intricate, ornate engraving and its rich, opulent expression, as well as drawing influences from the beauty of the natural world, the grandeur of architecture, and the detail in exquisite fabrics such as damask and lace.

In particular, the maison’s artisans employ traditional jewellery-making techniques that trace their history all the way back to the Renaissance era, from engraving styles such as rigato and modellato, to honeycomb or lace-like openwork in the fashion of Venetian lace and tulle, enchaining elements to create a supple and articulated composition, and twisting fine gold thread into various forms.

So integral are these Renaissance-era crafting techniques to Buccellati that the maison is investing in preserving them and broadening their reach among new generations of artisans. Since last year, Buccellati has established a partnership with the jewellery training institute Scuola Orafa Ambrosiana to offer the Buccellati Path programme to 12 students every year.

By transforming smooth metal into tactile surfaces, and setting them with rare gemstones, Buccellati’s expert craftspeople create jewellery that is a feast for the senses. Key designs of the maison include the Macri Collection, with its finely engraved texture reminiscent of golden silk; the Opera collection, whose four-lobed silhouette and extraordinary openwork bring to mind the windows of European churches; and the Tulle collection, a range that appears as delicate as lace.

And with Valentine’s Day on the horizon, there’s no better way to express the most heartfelt emotions than through the marvellous craftsmanship and precious materials of Buccellati’s jewellery creations. By selecting jewellery of different sizes, precious metals or gems, complementary sets can be assembled to symbolise togetherness and harmony.