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Buccellati, the family jewels
Rome - (Ign) - ''Today it's via Orefici, but at the time it was known as via degli Orafi. In the centre of Milan, a stone's throw from the Cathedral. The city was small, back then in the 18th century. There were few goldsmiths and they all knew each other. And one of them was Contardo, my great-great-grandfather. That's how we began, as craftsmen. We are still, and want to remain craftsmen, at least in some aspects: we want to work as a family and remain faithful to tradition". Gianmario Buccellati is the heir of Contardo and son of Mario, the person who, after the First World War, launched the family brand throughout Italy. Today, Buccellati Holding Spa is one of the most important names in the world of international luxury jewellery and silverware, and is present in all the continents with a large and effective sales network. But the chairman of the group, Gianmaria Buccellati, who is also a member of the Leonardo Committee (www.comitatoleonardo.it), the prestigious institution that with the operational contribution of the Italian Institute for Foreign Trade every year awards a range of prizes for Italian quality in the world, does not like to be defined as an entrepreneur.
"To become a large business," Buccellati comments, "large capital is required. I have been asked on various occasions to sell our company entirely or in part, but I have always refused. And I am proud to say that we are the only important name in the world of gold and jewellery whose management and above all approach are strictly family based".
Do all the Buccellati family work with you?
"Well, not quite everyone - my grandchildren are still at school! As for the others, yes, all of them. My wife, Rosa Maria Bresciani, deals with all the commercial side. Gino, my third son, manages the silverware section. Maria Cristina, the second eldest, is more creative and follows marketing and promotion. Mario, the eldest, follows all the activities of the group in the United States. Basically, I believe that this is extremely important: we are a family above all, and only then a business".
When did Buccellati move on from being craftsmen to being a real business, albeit a family one?
"Let's say that there were two distinct phases. The first was in the 1920s, when my father Mario took over from his relatives the various activities which had been started over almost two centuries, starting with the small workshop in via degli Orafi. He was the inventor of the 'Buccellati style', managing to bring together the many various traditions of antique jewellery, metalworking and innovative design. He had great success and this allowed him to open first the shops in Rome and Florence and then, after the Second World War, also those in New York and Palm Beach. The second phase was that of international expansion, after the death of my father, in 1965. I opened the boutique in Hong Kong, then the one in Tokyo, then in Monte Carlo. Then there was a great challenge: opening in Paris, in Place VendĂŽme, the world's most prestigious commercial location in the jewellery sector. And then gradually we opened other shops, in Sardinia, Venice, Capri, Elba, and the United States".
Is your jewellery still produced using traditional craftsmanship?
"Yes, our jewellery and silver is still produced in small highly qualified craftsmen's workshops, considered the best in Italy. To this group of craftsmen, including over 250 people, we have transmitted the unique style and techniques of the house. Many of them are the sons and grandchildren of those craftsmen who worked for my father, and this has allowed us to guarantee continuity and family identity".
What does the future hold for Buccellati? What markets are you interested in?
"We want to keep on growing and consolidate the company. There really are very few of us left who follow tradition and invest everything on quality. And my greatest satisfaction will be to continue along this path. I'm convinced it's the right one, and the results we have so far obtained have proved me right. As far as regards the markets, in September we will open our first shop in Russia, in Moscow".
Buccellati Holding spa
via Ludovico Mancini, 1