April 24, 2022There are plenty of reasons that Buccellati might occupy a top spot on a jewelry collector’s “most coveted” list — rich, magnificent details, timeless designs and impeccable craftsmanship among them — but for brand devotees, one thing about the iconic Italian jeweler stands out above all: its distinctive, artistically executed goldwork. It’s the masterful engraving and etching, as well as the delicate, lace-inspired openwork, that identify a jewel, whether a cuff bracelet or ring, as unequivocally Buccellati.
These techniques, often enlivened with rose-cut diamonds or cabochon colored stones, have names: telato, rigato, segrinato and ornato. And all are beautifully illustrated in Assouline‘s new Buccellati: A Century of Timeless Beauty. The lavish 294-page volume provides collectors with the ultimate guide to understanding and appreciating the Buccellati style — and the family that cultivated it, innovating and expanding the underlying concepts from one generation to the next.
Curated by Alba Cappellieri, Milan Polytechnic professor of jewelry design, and with an introduction by noted jewelry author, historian and curator Vivienne Becker, the book chronicles the most important eras in Buccellati’s history, starting with the firm’s founding, in Milan in 1919, by Mario Buccellati, who sought to resurrect the traditions of Renaissance goldsmiths instead of adopting the Art Deco design conventions of the time. The volume then follows the brand’s development through to its heyday in the 1960s, when its bold brooches and knockout cocktail rings entranced an international cadre of royals and movie stars — including the young Candice Bergen, who wore Buccellati sapphire- and diamond-set jewels with a peach moiré silk gown on the set of 1968’s The Adventurers.
The house’s command of silver, a key part of its present-day identity, is also explored, through a gleaming assortment of repoussé chalices, table decor and “furry” animalia. You can think of the book as a Buccellati bible serving as a companion to your collecting exploits. Even a casual flip-through suggests how much remains for you to discover about the brand, and this “timeless beauty” is a great place to start.