High-Jewelry House Buccellati Opened Its New Exhibition During the Venice Biennale

Inside Buccellati’s Historic New ExhibitionStefania M. D'Alessandro - Getty Images

In 1938, Gabriele d’Annunzio, the decadent Italian bad boy who counted Mussolini as a rival and the illustrious Marchesa Luisa Casati as a conquest, referred to Mario Buccellati as “The Prince of Goldsmiths.” D’Annunzio, a lover of extremes and a slave to beauty, would know. He commissioned hundreds of objects and jewelry from Buccellati, who founded his eponymous gold and silversmithing company in 1919 in Milan. The nickname stuck, and Mario’s eponymous maison developed a reputation for breathtaking renderings of the natural world in precious metals.

a brown leather purse
Courtesy of Buccellati

To celebrate this legacy of craftsmanship, the high-jewelry house has mounted a comprehensive retrospective in Venice, “The Prince of Goldsmiths: Rediscovering the Classics,” that charts the past 105 years of the company. Curated by Alba Cappellieri, professor of jewelry design at the Milan Polytechnic, the exhibition gathers together roughly 100 pieces of jewelry alongside more than 40 expertly crafted solid sterling pieces for the table and a wealth of purses, minaudières, and cigarette cases.

The opening vernissage for the exhibition featured high-profile guests including the legendary singer Gloria Gaynor.Vittorio Zunino Celotto - Getty Images

There are earrings like little baskets of pearls and amethysts that date back to the 1930s; rings heavy with rubies, citrine, sapphires and diamonds, all bound in tracery work at a shockingly minuscule scale; and timeless ribbonlike bracelets of gold and diamond lace. These wonders are mounted in an equally magical setting, the cavernous Oficine 800 spaces on the Giudecca Island of Venice. Opened to the world with a grand fete during the Venice Biennale that saw Gloria Gaynor take the stage, “The Prince of Goldsmiths” is open to the public through June 18. Arrivederci!

You Might Also Like