Earlier this month, Italian high-jewellery brand Buccellati officially returned to Hong Kong since its first store in 1960, with the launch of its brand-new boutique at Harbour City.
Staying true to the iconic Buccellati style, the store features art elements inspired by the Italian Renaissance. The display windows showcase the house’s one-of-a-kind high jewellery creations as well as its most popular pieces.
In the wake of the new opening, we spoke to Maria Cristina Buccellati, daughter of founder Gianmaria Buccellati and the brand’s Communications and Marketing Director, to find out more about the intricate workmanship displayed in each and every collection.
Did you always plan to follow in the footsteps of your father and represent the family business?
When I was younger, I would finish school and the driver would take me to my father’s office. I remember one time, I was playing with an opal as it looked like an egg and my father told me off, as it was very precious. I have always been fascinated watching the artisans too and I had no doubt that I would follow in the footsteps of my father.
Engravings are a distinguishing mark of all objects signed Buccellati. What is the history behind this tradition?
In Milano, there was a very important tradition of engraving since the 18th century mainly on weapons and armours. According the intricacy of the engraving, you could understand the importance of the families. I think it is something that gives a distinct difference to the metal as well as a personality and softness to the jewel.
What’s more, it is a rule for most of our jewels to be designed and then handcrafted with two gold colors. Diamonds are often set in white gold to retain their beauty and yellow gold for the rest of the jewel.
Please tell us about the workmanship behind the Hawaii and Tulle collections?
For the Hawaii collection, we create a thread of gold which is twisted on itself. With the help of a tool that holds the thread, the artisan twists it and creates the design. Again, the human touch makes a big difference. That’s what Buccellati is about.
For the Tulle collection, the artisans take a leaf of gold and pierce it with a drill to make simple holes. Using a manual saw into each of the holes they have made, they create the hexagonal shape which is typical of our honeycomb texture. Each hole takes about 3 to 4 hours to finish. With each ring there is around 200 to 300 hexagons, taking around three to four months to be ready and a necklace can take about two years to complete. They are all collector pieces and they are more than jewels, we like to consider them pieces of art.
Our most important asset is our artisans which I consider artists, because the competence and artistry they have are rare. They need a strong passion and hours upon hours of practice to become skilled
In most cases, this profession is a family legacy passed from generation to generation. In fact their grandfathers used to be my grandfather’s artisans. In addition, a few years ago we created a school where we teach the younger generations the secrets behind this incredible work
What is the most popular collection to date and why?
Macri is probably the most popular because it has the signature engraving and it is versatile. The bracelet can be worn alone during the daytime and, in the evening, it can be stacked with a few more.
This collection was my favorite when I was younger and in fact, still is. When I was thirteen, I remember asking my father for the bracelet. He said I was too young but so kindly named the collection after me. Then, when I was seventeen, he finally gave it to me as a gift. I was so pleased!
What does Buccellati represent?
I think Buccellati represents the search for something that is different and related to art, excellence and passion. It fulfils the desire of culture and beauty, rather than a desire for material goods. Moreover, the Buccellati jewel can be passed down to future generations because it is timeless and will always retain its elegance.
For more information visit, us.buccellati.com/en
Buccellati, Shop G312, Ground Floor, Gateway Arcade, Harbour City, Kowloon