Buccellati, Prince of Goldsmiths

Isabelle Hossenlopp

Buccellati is holding a major retrospective in Venice to showcase its heritage, history and craftsmanship. 

“The Prince of Goldsmiths, Rediscovering the Classics”

Oficine 800 – Venice, April 18 to June 18, 2024

Mario Buccellati

The entire Venice exhibition is dedicated to Buccellati’s “classics”, featuring over 200 jewelry and goldsmith pieces that represent the unique styles and skills that have made the jeweler famous.

Classics offer the joy of rediscovery, evoking worlds of timeless beauty, elegance, art and nature. To reinterpret them is to revisit millennia-old traditions, materials and forms with an ever more modern eye.” says the Maison’s Creative Director Andrea Buccellati.

The exhibition walks visitors through four different chapters.

1. The “Generations” of the Buccellati family, who over the years have guided the Maison’s artistic direction, represented by the iconic butterfly.

2. “Elegant curiosities and precious accessories in silver and gold” that embody the sense of elegance over time.

3. The “Silver masterpieces” in the iconic Buccellati style, renowned for the expert use of ancient embossing and chasing techniques to give them the perfect shape and proportions.

4. Finally, the “Buccellati jewelry icons” presented as authentic works of art, creating an evocative parallel with classical mythology.

The butterfly as a symbol of grace and detailed perfection

Four butterfly brooches created by four generations of the Buccellati family greet visitors to the Venetian exhibition. The first was designed by Mario Buccellati, who founded the Maison in 1919. The second was designed by his son Gianmaria, and the third by Gianmaria’s son Andrea. Then the last brooch – the icon of this Venice exhibition – was created by Andrea Buccellati in collaboration with his daughter Lucrezia.

The butterfly has always been an important source of inspiration for the Milan-based jeweler. It is the very symbol of the Maison, with its grace and beauty, its delicate body and wings, and the perfectly meticulous designs on its lightweight, exquisitely cut wings.

The butterfly is an expression of the Maison’s signatures, both through the perfect mastery of the gold – worked like lace with an entirely handmade thin mesh –, the unique way a relief effect is created by engraving playful lines into the gold (rigato, segrinato, telato, oranto and modellato techniques) and through the sculpted gemstone settings.

The Milanese jeweler also chose to hold the event in Venice to showcase this expertise in one of the most famous symbols of the gold and jewelry tradition.

Four generations, four styles

Designed by Mario in the 1950s, the first butterfly brooch features a wide, intricate openwork motif. The second, created by Gianmaria in 1993, is distinguished by its bold combination of colors and gemstones. Created by Andrea and based on an original 1995 design, the third brooch is a honeycomb masterpiece, interpreted with extreme precision.

Lastly, the “Buccellati Venezia Butterfly” uses all the Maison‘s techniques, from openwork to tulle, combining inspirations from the different brooches designed by previous generations. The body of the brooch is formed of two exceptional pear-shaped diamonds, one in 8.51 carats, D color and IF clarity, the other 5.10 carats, D color and VVS1 clarity. 

The 50 navette-cut diamonds surrounded by elongated golden tulle and weighing 1.92 carats, and the 270 round brilliant-cut diamonds weighing 1.54 carats embellish the butterfly’s wings.

The openwork around each of the navette-cut diamonds repeats the Maison’s emblematic tulle motif, highlighting the complexity of the work that went into this piece. Finally, the use of a light white gold lace and diamonds for the edges of the wings reflect the distinctive play of gold color contrasts that are typical of Buccellati.

Worlds of timeless beauty and elegance

Those who love Buccellati and the unrivalled elegance of its style will recognize the work of the master goldsmith on decorative silver objects designed to bring to life anything from a piece of fruit, a finely veined leaf, a chiseled flower, or an animal with a breathtakingly precise shell or coat of fur.

In the exhibition’s final room – the gallery of icons – pieces in honeycomb or gold and diamond lace showcase the fluidity that can be bestowed on jewelry, necklaces and bracelets that are the height of expression and which flow like ribbons.

During the haute joaillerie presentations at Paris Haute Couture Week last year, Buccellati offered a glimpse into this magnificent savoir-faire through the Mosaico collection, which left those fortunate enough to see it spellbound.

Prince of goldsmiths

Gabriele d’Annunzio gave his friend Mario Buccellati the moniker “Prince of Goldsmiths” in homage to the jeweler’s unique and deep-rooted talent. He placed a great many orders with Buccellati, but he also enjoyed a long correspondence with him. The Buccellati family likes to remember this friendship. Certain pieces made for the writer in the 1920s and 30s inspired the recent collection of long necklaces created from Ombelicali gemstone balls. 

The Venice exhibition traces the development and heritage of this craftsmanship. Drawing on its long-standing mastery and over one-hundred-year existence, Buccellati has elegantly created a highly contemporary goldsmith’s and jeweler’s art.