Parure, Federico Buccellati
Comprising: a necklace, composed of articulated links designed as clusters of vine leaves in bicoloured gold, the surface with fine segrinato engraving, to a concealed clasp, together with a hinged bangle designed as a line of segrinato oak leaves within a frame of tree branches, and a pair of earrings modelled as oak leaves.
This extraordinary set of gold jewels, each exquisitely modelled from leaves of grape vines and oak trees, is an excellent example of the distinctive style of the Italian dynasty of jewellers, Buccellati. The firm was founded by Mario Buccellati (1891-1965), the son of a goldsmith in Ancona, central Italy. As a teenager he worked at the jewellers Beltrami & Besnati, taking it over and renaming it Buccellati at the young age of 28. Buccellati’s explosive debut at the Madrid Exposition was an instant success – his collection of intricately pierced and engraved jewels inspired by Italian Renaissance brocade and lace entirely sold out, and his natural personal charisma made a lasting impression on the public. The aesthetic he had created was entirely his own, and the intricate techniques he championed would become the lifeblood of his company for generations to come. Upon his death in 1967, four of his five sons followed him into the jewellery business – one of whom was Federico, the maker of these jewels. These jewels date from the latter part of the 1960s – the necklace can be dated almost exactly to 1967, as it bears an Italian hallmark which was phased out the following year. As such, it would have been among the first jewels to bear Federico’s initials, shortly after his father’s death that same year.
The firm of Buccellati was founded in 1919 by the goldsmith and designer Mario Buccellati who opened shops in Milan, Rome and Florence. The high quality of craftsmanship and the recognisable design of their pieces positioned the firm at the high end of the luxury market. Starting from the 1950's Buccellati expanded to the international market, opening premises all over the world. European royal families, the Pope and his Cardinals were among Buccellati’s clients. A poet Gabrielle D’Annunzio, a friend and, perhaps, the most devoted admirer of his art, used to call the jeweller “the Prince of Goldsmiths” and “the Perfect Bowl Master”. Some pieces created by Mario Buccellati are still a part of the family collection – for example, a crystal necklace made for Eleonora Duse, an Italian actress. In 1949, Pope Pious XIII honoured Mario Buccellati to design an icon for Princess Margaret, who visited the Vatican that year.
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