Bejeweled

Inside the Jewelry Houses Carrying On Italy’s Tradition of Exceptional Craftsmanship

In the pantheon of great Italian jewelers, a few are household names. Brands like Buccellati, Bulgari and Pomellato are found in the toniest shopping districts across the globe, worn on the red carpet and highly coveted in the secondary market. Even so, there’s much more to discover in the way of Italian-made jewelry, and a richer terrain starts to unfold when you explore the nooks and crannies of the gold districts of Valenza, Vicenza, Arezzo and beyond. 

Below, meet three Italian luxury-jewelry design houses that are revered by aficionados but exceedingly hard to find in the U.S. Each is unique, but they share a maximalist design sensibility, a respect for their families’ heritage and a passionate commitment to best-in-class artistry and craftsmanship. And for all of them, you can find a selection of their pieces on 1stDibs.


MARGHERITA BURGENER

Established: 2002, Valenza, Italy | Principal: Emanuela Burgener, creative director, founder and co-owner

black and white portrait of Margherita Burgener next to a purple statement ring from her brand

How would you describe your jewelry?

They are all masterpieces of hand-crafted artisan goldsmithing, all brought to life in the family workshop in Valenza, Italy. It’s jewelry that is contemporary yet classic, timeless but with a touch of modernity. The heart of every jewel we create is precious stones and the best quartzes and semiprecious gems, combined with innovative materials such as titanium. We like to create interesting chromatic combinations, and the high quality of the Italian manufacture sets them apart as unique and distinctive.

Peridot and diamonds white gold Margherita Burgener ring
53.5-carat peridot, diamond and White Gold Ring, 2019. Above, from left: Emanuela Burgener (photo courtesy of Margherita Burgener) and an amethyst cocktail ring, 2016

What do your most passionate collectors have in common?

They are in love with the beauty and uniqueness of our creations but also with the Italian background and my family’s history — the creative soul of the Margherita Burgener brand starts with the workshop our grandfather started in the nineteen sixties, where we are still making the jewels today. And the brand is named after my first-born daughter, Margherita [the family business was relaunched as Margherita Burgener in 2002]. Our collector is a sophisticated jewelry lover who pays attention to the details and appreciates the fact that many of our pieces are one of a kind or are offered in limited editions, so they will always be something unique. Clients often ask for custom details to be added to a design or a completely bespoke piece. 

Blue Titanium Diamond 18KT Rose Gold Petals Earrings from Margherita Burgener
Blue Titanium and Diamond Petals Earrings, 2019

Is there a piece in your current 1stDibs assortment that perfectly illustrates your distinctive approach to jewelry design?

The Petal earrings are everyday chic for a more relaxed lifestyle. They are very lightweight, because they’re made with titanium, and we added diamonds for some sparkle. But our best seller on the platform is a very simple, quite classic pair of gold earrings with a line of diamonds all around a centerpiece of cabochon pink quartz, chalcedony, blue topaz, onyx or malachite — I guess because they, too, are classic with that contemporary touch. I am really loving our cufflinks and men’s dress sets, like the chalcedony and blue sapphire ones for a wedding or anniversary gift.

sketch of Margherita Burgener jewelry next to the final piece
The sketch at left became a brooch pendant with a 46.78-carat aquamarine and diamonds set in titanium and white gold.

What are your greatest inspirations in general, and what is something that has influenced your work recently? 

My creativity has always been inspired by the wonders of nature. I was born and raised in the mountains of the Piedmont region of Italy, and my connection to the landscape always shines through. My curious spirit has pushed me to look in many directions — for example, to introduce titanium into the collection, a material that allows me to make important but very lightweight jewelry with incredible shapes.

Margherita Burgener White Diamond and Black Diamond Onyx 18K White Gold Cufflinks
White and Black Diamond and Onyx Cufflinks, 2018

What can you tell us about future collections?

I am always working on new creations that push our boundaries. Future pieces will have a focus on men’s jewelry and gender-neutral rings. I am also working on some designs dating back to the nineteen eighties, when the family workshop was making beautiful unbranded pieces. A rethinking and updating of certain styles is very challenging and interesting work for me. I have also recently been experimenting with reclaimed plastic for a capsule collection that will be a collaboration with the artist Enrica Borghi using bottles we collected from the meadows in our local mountains and also in Venice, where we have found them in the sea and on the beaches. We are calling it Precious Plastic Jewels, because the pieces mix precious stones and metals with what is considered waste. For me, this is a way to send a message of respect for the planet and create a more sustainable world.


SABBADINI

Established: 1940s, Milan, Italy | Principals: Alberto and Stefania Sabbadini, their son, Pierandrea and their daughter, Micol Sabbadini, who spoke with us 

How would you describe your jewelry?

Our jewelry is creative and original, with a focus on artisanal craftsmanship. It shows that tradition can go hand in hand with imagination and the changing times. Our story begins in Spain, where my great grandfather Alberto Esquenazi was a diamond importer. In the nineteen forties, he moved to Milan and partnered with his son-in-law, Bruno Sabbadini, and we have been evolving and expanding ever since. We like to play with colors and shapes, using the most precious and unique diamonds and an array of colored stones, along with unconventional materials, from titanium to aluminum, from ceramics to steel. Every item in the Sabbadini collection is a unique expression of luxury with an informal tone, always allowing the personality of the wearer to shine through.

Sabbadini Long Necklace with Pearls, Diamonds and Rubies
Long PEARL, DIAMOND AND RUBy Necklace, Contemporary. Above, from left: Bee brooch with invisibly set yellow and black sapphires and pavé diamonds, Contemporary, and Micol Sabbadini (photo by Jacopo Raule/Getty Images)

What do your most passionate collectors have in common?

They are all different, but they look for unique pieces rather than follow fashion trends. We’ve developed a base of collectors who share a common desire for excellence, quality, craftsmanship and creativity in their jewelry. 

Is there a piece in your current 1stDibs assortment that perfectly illustrates your distinctive approach to jewelry design?

Our signature bee brooch, originally designed by my father for my mother in the nineteen eighties, has become an icon of the brand and features gems in the invisible setting style, something that Sabbadini is known for. We love its symbolism — industriousness, vivacity and good fortune. We have expanded the motif into earringsbracelets, necklaces and rings and also offer it in coral and lacquer in a range of patterns. It all starts with a bee that can then become a collection of different bees that you mix and match. The earrings can be purchased in pairs, with bees of the same color, or individually, opening up endless possibilities of color combinations.

Sabbadini Contemporary Titanium Leaf Earrings
Titanium Leaf Earrings, Contemporary

What are your greatest inspirations in general, and what is something that has influenced your work recently? 

Nature, art and travel are constant sources of inspiration. Lately, we have been drawn to the patterns and colors seen in African fabrics. 

Sabbadini Titanium and Rubies Dark Red Cuff Bracelet
Titanium and Ruby Dark Red griffes Bracelet, Contemporary

What can you tell us about future collections?

We will continue to keep developing and evolving our style icons, including our bees and our Soho collection, which is inspired by my parents’ love of contemporary art and is a client favorite — they love the titanium colors and that the bracelets can be so bold yet lightweight.


VESCHETTI

Established: 1949, Brescia, Italy | Principals: Brother-and-sister owners Laura and Marco Veschetti

Black and white brother and sister portrait of Laura and Marco Veschetti next to emerald and diamond cuff bracelet from the Veschetti brand

How would you describe your jewelry?

Vibrant and distinctive. It’s a perfect mix of elegance, design and creativity. Some of our jewelry references the magnificent nineteen-fifties and nineteen-sixties jewels made by the most famous Italian jewelers. Supported by extraordinary, highly skilled goldsmiths, we remain loyal to Italian craftsmanship traditions, and our unique jewels reflect our passion for luxury, beauty and style. 

Veschetti Persian Turquoise, Sapphire and Diamond Cocktail Ring
Persian Turquoise, Sapphire and Diamond Cocktail Ring, 2020. Above, from left: Laura and Marco Veschetti (photo courtesy of Veschetti) and an 18-karat gold, enamel and Zambian carved emerald and diamond cuff

What do your most passionate collectors have in common?

Our collectors are based all over the world, and they all appreciate our jewelry as true icons of Italian style — that is, jewelry that is sophisticated, remarkable, timeless and elevated to a work of art.

Veschetti 18 Karat Yellow Gold, Lapis Lazuli, Diamond Necklace with matching ring
18-karat yellow gold, lapis lazuli and diamond Necklace with matching ring and earrings, 2020

Is there a piece in your current 1stDibs assortment that perfectly illustrates your distinctive approach to jewelry design?

They all do. For example, our large sets [pendants with matching rings and earrings] feature splendid inlays or amazing carved precious stones; multicolored gemstones in a single design; beautiful hard stones, like lapis lazuli or malachite; or natural materials, such as coral or mother-of-pearl — all enriched with top-quality diamonds. These elements are all distinctive of the Veschetti style. Our gorgeous handcrafted long necklaces, cocktail rings and statement earrings are the true embodiment of our passion for jewelry.

Veschetti 18 Kt Yellow Gold, Emerald, Diamond Necklace
Yellow Gold, Emerald and Diamond Necklace, 2020

What are your greatest inspirations?

Our jewelry has always celebrated Italy’s natural wonders and romantic charm, as well as Italian art and architecture. It was our father, Mario, founder of the Veschetti jewelry brand more than seventy years ago, who taught us at a young age to see beauty in everything. This has helped us to develop our artistic vision.

What can you tell us about future collections?

Despite the difficult time of the pandemic, our family never stopped designing and creating jewelry, and everything we are working on now celebrates life and the restoration of beauty to our world. We see the return of the world’s largest live events and exhibitions with great optimism, as they will be an excellent opportunity to get inspired. And we are looking forward to playing a role in the relaunch of the local and global economies.

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