Oh dear! I wanted to do a blog about my 5 favorite Italian jewelry companies but I ended up with 20 and still felt heartbroken to leave out some amazing brands! And these are only the high end jewelry brands! I promise, I will do another one with my favorite Italian silver jewelry brands soon.
When I was in my early 20’s, I ended up in Italy and lived in this crazy little town called Valenza. It was so different from anything I knew. From the no-nonsense, saying what you mean and not more than that - down to earth bulb area above Amsterdam to this little town where everyone who wasn’t running a bar or worked at the bakery, was somehow involved in jewelry.
I even wondered if the people running a bar and working in a bakery, weren’t involved in jewelry in one way or another!
I have written before that it was right here that I fell in love with the smell of the workplaces, the excited and loud talks about a design, the small boxes with folded paper containing beautiful gemstones. The people that sold pearls, the many stores, the ladies that worked as polishers and how important a good polisher was and how their hands always gave away their daytime jobs. The true world of jewelry!
I worked there for years and years after that, I still worked in the industry but expanding my network to Vicenza. Now, more than 20 years later from those first days in Valenza, I have seen so many brands, so much jewelry and I’ve learned so much more over time and I still discover new facts, industry news, new brands and what more, every single day.
Although there are so many companies that create fantastic jewelry, I had to go and eliminate my list to bring it back to 5 brands. I failed. I tried 10 and failed again. I tried 15 and ...well you’ve guessed it, I failed miserably. So from over 50 brands, I now have created a list of 20 favorite jewelry brands. All Italian, all beautiful in their own way.
I did not include the silver brands, as I felt that they could not compete with the high end jewelry ones and deserved their very own blog, so bear with me for another blog on Italian silver brands. It was hard, I mean the first 5 are easy, but then I had to bring down an enormous list to just 20. Not easy, if Italian jewelry is kind of your speciality :-)
But I have made it. I did not create this list to emphasize just my personal taste, but rather wanted to showcase companies that I know and admire and create fantastic high end jewelry, each with their own signature. So here goes in random order
De Simone f.lli
This former hotel manager proves something I really believe in: a very different background can really add fresh perspective in an *old world* as is the world of jewelry. I adore Roberto Coin for his brilliant collections, obviously even more for his animal themed jewelry and admire him for taking this rather young company (established in 1996) to grow so big in such a short time. Roberto Coin is one of those Italian brands that really made it in the U.S, a dream of many Italian brands. A flamboyant man, an admirable achievement, but really guys; the jewelry is truly well made and truly beautiful. Some of the pieces can only be created by very specialized craftsmen. Even my hubby, who not often agrees with my wild taste in animal jewelry, said he adores the Long Horn Bull Ring.
If Roberto Coin’s jewelry is something you love, but can’t afford, than take a look at the Fifth Avenue Collection. I always love silver collections by high end jewelers, as they are so beautifully made! But this one is not just fair priced, but exceptionally lovely.
This family run business was created by Carlo Palmiero. The man is simply a sorcerer. What he can do with stones and movement and composition is unique. And being unique in an overcrowded world of production and brands, as is the jewelry world too, is an achievement in itself. The collection contains really only very high end creations and are obviously for a wealthy clientele with exquisite taste. I have been enchanted with his world of jewelry from the first day I laid my eyes on his collection and have never stopped feeling that he possesses some kind of magic wand.
Buccellati is one of the most famous brands that has been capable of creating its very own signature style. The first Buccellati shop was opened in Milan by Mario Buccellati. One of his 5 sons started his own career in jewelry, but later the two companies, both very successful, merged into the brand it is today. Buccellati is known for many things but perhaps most for their engraved *rigato* gold finish in many of their pieces. It’s the collection that I love most. The company closed a deal with Clessidra SGR, a private equity fund, and has pulled a great publicity stunt with the creation of the world’s most expensive Iphone case created back in 2014.
Buccellati jewelry is for seriously grown up people, it’s not young or daring, but sophisticated, with the elegance that only comes easy to those brands who have a long history. Personally, I love the Hawaii necklaces, the Tulle rings and the Dream bracelets. They are simply majestic and breathtaking.
This brand is seriously beautiful. Verdi jewelry is not prudent or humble, it’s there: BAM. The words lavish luxury spring to my mind, when I look at their beautifully -made in Valenza- jewelry. Diamonds and gemstones play a key role in the collections. You’ll find some very classic pieces, but also some rather playful ones. One might not always have the eye to what is well made jewelry, but I can assure you that it takes astonishing craftsmanship in order to create jewelry like this.
It’s very high end and very exclusive and much less known than say the famous Bulgari or Buccellati, but they really deserve the same attention. Why I adore this company? I must admit that I am blown away by the pure craftsmanship.
You might enjoy this blog too: Enjoy my favorite French jewelry brands!
Think ingeniously carved and cut stones. An enormous collection from very high end, to the more approachable and easy to wear collections and you have a picture of this Valenza based brand.
The company was founded by Aldo Bellotto and Sandro Ferraris and I love this brand not just for the incredible craftsmanship, but most of all for the fantasy and creativity. Although there are some animal themed pieces, which I love, it is their ability to create exciting pieces that I admire most. I would describe their beautiful jewelry collection as intelligent fantasy.
This company was born in 1984, once again, in Valenza but was acquired by the Aura group run by the Traglio family. They took Vhernier to the next level and now this brand has 10 own boutiques, and can be found in 19 countries. Modern, sleek, innovative, surprising, architectural and with a clear fond love for gold and large stones. I love this brand for their design. I really love bold jewelry and I know how beautiful, solid and sophisticated their jewelry is. If you do not like jewelry full of diamonds and you are not into frivolous jewelry, but nonetheless like your jewelry to be daring and bold, then you might want to check out Vhernier!
Ok, guys, I must admit, that sympathetic and kind owners can make a difference sometimes. I always admired this brand for their work ethic, they are simply always on the road off to the world’s greatest jewelry shows and they have such faith in their brand and collections. Once more, from Valenza, Garavelli Aldo is one of those high standard wonderful jewelry brands with a history that dates back to 1920! This is a very small company that won’t do any concession to quality. I love them and am crazy about the face rings!
When I ran the jewelry store in Valenza in the ‘90’s, we had a small but lovely collection of the Santagostino jewelry brooches and once even a bracelet too. I remember that it was love at first sight! Where to start? The colors? The fantasy? The enchanting compositions? The theme? This enthusiastic, passionate family run business will blow you away with their wondrous world of flowers, bugs and fruits! Absolutely beautiful quality and if you are looking for something truly unique, you might check them out!
Check out this blog, if you love Santagostino: Trend: Cool animal jewelry to brighten up your summer wardrobe!
I met this company last January. I always loved coral and turqouise and I like to check out some of the booths at the jewelry trade fairs that specialize in this. One of the owners of the company started a conversation with me and showed me more pieces whilst sharing something about the history of the company. The more I looked and learned, the more I grew to love it! Many have this image of coral jewelry as being rather old fashioned, but De Simone F.lli is anything but old fashioned. With a keen eye for fashion and statement pieces, mixed incredibly well with their knowledge, skills and craftsmanship, they create the most exciting coral, pearl, turquoise and cameo jewelry.
This company knows how to do storytelling and their background deserves a blog on its own. I love them for their story and I love them because I feel truly excited and in awe when I look at some of their pieces!
Paolo Piovan, it’s perhaps the use of the black background and the often scary ( but beautiful ) animals such as spiders and dragons, that created this connection in my mind with darkness, punk and goth somehow. But truly, once you see the jewelry for real, it is audacious and wonderful. A mix between the fairytales of Disney and the Grimm brothers. Obviously, they caught my attention initially because of their stunning animal themed jewelry. What I love about this company is the sheer size of the jewelry. It’s not modest or shy, it’s wild and bold and daring and beautiful, enchanting and lush.
This brand caught my eye, when I first saw that chicken ring. In fact, I thought the ring was hilariously funny and so very audacious and brave. A company that dares to play and dares to challenge the definition of what animals are and aren’t suited in jewelry, whilst maintaining a high standard in both execution and materials, is a company that deserves to be in the limelight of not just the press but certainly also of the public eye. The ring says a lot about the playful minds behind this 30 year old company.
And the fact that they have produced for prestigious brands, like many in Valenza have done, means that they know how to meet the highest standards requested by those companies. Pino Manna has its own boutique in the beautiful town of Modena. The chicken will always be my favorite, but look at the rest of the collection. Isn’t it charming?
Crivelli is like a force of nature. When you pass their booth at a trade fair, the incredible amount of often classical jewelry, chockful diamonds and the most gorgeous, impressive and large gemstones is overwhelming. It might even hurt your eyes!
Crivelli has not a very youthful imagine, but rather majestic and formal. If you think of cities think the classical formal architecture or Vienna!. Yet, what I love about this brand is their unapologetic attitude towards classical jewelry with lots of diamonds and stunning gemstones. With great Hollywood appeal, this is traditional jewelry at its best.
Gabriele Rivalta is a company near Valenza and they create enameled jewelry. That’s what they have always done and what they are known for. There are a few famous brands and a lot not so famous brands, that create stunning enameled jewelry. And I have a profound appreciation for the art of enameling. The whole process is very delicate and it’s art, technique and craftsmanship all in one.
The miniature paintings of Gabriela, on 18kt gold necklaces and pendants mostly, are unique in the world of jewelry. The details in her paintings are so beautiful, that even if this type of jewelry is not something you would choose yourself, you can’t stop looking at it in complete awe. For 45 years, Gabriele Rivalta has grown within her very unique niche and I love her jewelry for the love she so clearly puts in her stunning pieces of jewelry. I would choose her flowers any day.
When I lived in Italy, in the ‘90’s of last century, Pasquale Bruni was this rapidly growing world wide known sexy brand that had a contemporary approach to classic jewelry and some of their pieces were truly iconic. Although today they have much more competition, I never fell out of love with them. I still think this brand is hot and creates wonderful jewelry with often a more youthful and dynamic approach to jewelry, than others. I would not mind if they created a line that would blow me off my feet again, but nevertheless, I think Pasquale Bruni creates very sexy and very high standard jewelry.
This Italian designer has an impressive career, with lots of award winning moments and working for beautiful jewelry companies. There is a lot to write about Alessio, but I have chosen him as he is one of the most exciting and eclectic designers around. With his love for historical references and regal details, he creates enchanting and mesmerizing pieces of jewelry that rock. I love his innovative, complex and technical approach, as much as I love his creative madness. I think he simply creates incredible awesome jewelry and that his star will surely rise more and more!
Roman based Casato has won my heart for their lightness and their twinkling, elegant jewelry. I can’t help but think of swanlike ballerina’s, refined sophisticated ladies that laugh and sparkle whilst drinking tea. Not sure why, but this is the image that springs to my mind when I look at their lovely collection. A warm, kind company with easy to wear jewelry that will appeal to both Millennials as older generations for its open structured jewelry that is never old fashioned and always playful and bright. I love them for their kindness, their delightful designs and how they incorporate the latest trends into their jewelry.
This Turin based company has been around for decades, but in the last years it has grown rapidly and now their collections can be found in the showroom in Rome and in the windows of prestigious jewelers around the globe. This company offers an enormous and very diverse collection of jewelry, not all high end, but all in 18kt gold. The collection contains very wearable pieces for any occasion as well as some slightly more expressive ones like the Lips and Animal collection. The Arcimboldo collection however, caught the eye of the press worldwide and yes, mine too. I have to tell you that sometimes jewelry looks great in a picture and then in real life it lacks charisma, but not so for the Arcimboldo rings.
They were even better in real life, than in any picture I had seen. I love the Italian Mattioli brand for embracing the fact that jewelers want high quality jewelry that they can sell easily, with the name of a great brand, whilst offering also exclusive jewelry. I love Mattioli for their approach in business and their enthusiasm. I will always love Mattioli for the Arcimboldo collection :-)
Perhaps Bulgari is the most famous name in this whole list of favorite Italian jewelry brands. Bulgari is a very impressive company, that is known truly all over the world and has expanded their brand to perfume and other accessories successfully.
Why I love Bulgari? I don’t know where to start. The choice of colored gemstones combination and the revolution they started in the ‘50’s? Their past, their heritage, their iconic status? Perhaps I love them most of all simply for their high end jewelry pieces. I adore the Serpent Collection and Colour Treasures, but what can I say: can one really go wrong with a piece of jewelry by Bulgari?
This young company is not famous at all but it is a company that I would like to mention in this top 20 as they had caught my attention at the last trade fair I visited in Italy. The company promises an original approach to jewelry and if they continue to follow through, they might grow a lot bigger and surely more famous. They use electroforming and diamond ridges to create exciting pieces that are quite unique.
The jewelry looks young, sexy and different and I think they will appeal to the rapidly growing number of Millennials that are searching for jewelry but aren’t always interested in diamonds or gemstones. I love them for this approach and I adore their collection, especially the Bouquet collection.
Chantecler has this radiant Capri spirit. The Dolce Vita, the parties, the light, the Mediterranean it’s all there! Born from a friendship between two guys; Pietro Capuano e Salvatore Aprea. I love their high jewelry collections, but I adore the Campanelle (Bells) just as much and I appreciate the fact (many more brands should do this!) that they created a silver collection too. The pieces that I love most? Diamour and Fireworks! But I also love the bright colors of turquoise and coral that they use in many of their pieces. Dandy, fun, beautiful radiant jewelry, that Ladies and Gentleman, is Chantecler.
Creating this blog took me days!. Not just to find the right words, which isn’t easy as English isn’t my native tongue, to describe brands that I adore, but without using the same words over and over again. I might not have succeeded in that, but I truly hope that I have managed to have been able to create curiosity and your interest. Maybe even inspired you to check out one or more of these brands, the next time you stroll through a city. Who knows, maybe even buying one of the jewelry pieces ?! Lucky you :-)
I would love to know who your favorite Italian brand is and why!
Caoro jewelry rings
De Simone F.lli bracelets
Mattioli Lips rings
Pino Manna Pet collection
Pino Manna Rings
Paolo Piovan Lion bracelets