Taking in an entire century of incredible innovations, this nearly 400-page volume constitutes the most thorough overview to date of Italian jewelry in the 20th century. Alongside superb photography of individual works, it reproduces preparatory drawings from the archives of prestigious jewelers and private collections, many of which are published here for the first time.
The volume opens with the work of Mario Buccellati, whose delicate, lacelike jewelry is incomparable in its technical execution. It then considers the Milanese jeweler Alfredo Ravasco, Filippo Chiappe in Genoa, the Musy family of Turin, the Petochi family in Rome, Codognato’s goldsmithing and the Etruscan-inspired jewels of Ascione. A section of the book is dedicated to 1940s jewelry, examining works by Cusi, Chantecler, Fasano and Illario. Attention is also paid to the 1960s and 1970s, which marked the birth of the new Bulgari style, challenging the supremacy of the great French jewelers. Works by Mario Masenza, done in collaboration with artists such as Afro, Cannilla, Capogrossi and Uncini, also receive special focus.
The enormous success of the “Made in Italy” trademark during the 1980s–90s led to an international boom in the sales of Italian jewelry, exemplified by Pomellato, Giò Caroli and Rivière. The book concludes with in-depth studies of manufacturing centers such as Valenza, Vicenza and Arezzo, the works of the Padua School and biographies of the jewelers and goldsmiths cited, plus a section of 350 archival documents.