by Gemma White
  • 4 minute read
  • May 13, 2024
Pieces of the Past: Luca Buccellati on preserving the heritage of the Italian jewellery house

Mosaic as muse is the concept Luca Buccellati has immersed himself in for the stunning collection from the renowned Italian jewellery house that bears his family name. Turning to the Byzantine era for inspiration for the Mosaico high jewellery collection, both Luca, partner and VIP liaison, and Andrea Buccellati, the Maison’s Creative Director, sought solace in the colours and shapes of the glass paste tesserae that have influenced and entranced people for millennia.

Comprising flexible bracelets, brooches, bib necklaces, earrings, rings and cuffs, the Mosaico collection presents diamonds in a variety of cuts, as well as emeralds and sapphires set in white and yellow gold. In a way, the series is the culmination of classic Buccellati artistry and technique, paired with the savoir-faire of the past and present.

“During our century-old history, we have always had a particular bond with the art of the past, and mosaics are a great and incredible form of art in Italy,” says Luca. “In the eponymous collection, I have sourced my inspiration from Byzantine mosaics to pay homage to their drawings and wonderful colours.”

Luca Buccellati. Image: Supplied

As an art form, mosaic is one of the most ancient human creative expressions, with early examples found in Mesopotamia – a region that includes modern-day Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Syria, and Turkey – dating back to 3000 BC or even earlier. Meanwhile, in Italy, Luca’s home country, some of the most elaborate Late Antique and mediaeval mosaics can be found.

Indeed, the fifth-century Mausoleum of Galla Placidia in Ravenna, with its starry nocturnal ‘skies’ in enamelled jewel blue, and the ornamental motifs of the Church of Santa Maria della Croce at Casaranello in Apulia, were central to the creation of Mosaico.

Interlacing emblems, repetitive patterns and precision indentations combine with a unique way of not only catching but absorbing and reflecting the light. Simultaneously of a bygone era and yet perennially modern, mosaics offer an inspiring safe space for even the most artistic philistine, due to their rhythmic and harmonious elements, the continuity of which, one feels, will ceaselessly continue to flow even when the edge of the page, ceiling or bracelet beckons.

“Mosaics give me some cues that I can translate, modify and combine with our goldsmithing techniques,” explains Luca. “Moreover, mosaics – thanks to their characteristics – lend themselves particularly well to the Buccellati style.”

As well as looking back across millennia of mosaic craftsmanship, the house’s latest collection also reflects on the artistry and designs of its founder Mario Buccellati, who in the 1920s was producing many of the pieces which Mosaico used as touchstones for reinterpretation.

Buccellati Mosaico collection. Images: Supplied

“The Buccellati style is an evolution born from its originator, my grandfather Mario, who left a very strong imprint on it,” says Andrea. “Subsequently, each generation has applied the working techniques, the design and the Buccellati style, reworking them in their own way while fully respecting the soul of the brand.”

A healthy respect for the past doesn’t begin and end with design, but also draws upon an array of techniques, many of which have been central to the Buccellati brand for the past hundred years. Working with lace, tulle and honeycombing, hand-engraving and ancient goldsmithing traditions of the Italian “bottega” during the Renaissance continue to guide the Maison’s modern artisans. 

“It has been and remains somehow natural for us to maintain a uniform style,” says Luca. “The evolution towards the future mainly depends on the times we are living in and on the generation who design, who pour his or her own taste into the creation – but we are always faithful to the heritage Buccellati DNA,” he adds.

Creating his own designs and maintaining close relationships with the artisans with whom he works, Luca has also turned his talents outwards beyond the workshops and ateliers to carve a global-facing role that ensures the brand remains at the forefront of conversations around high jewellery.

Taking care of the Maison’s VIP clients means a suitcase is always packed and a passport forever at hand as Luca travels the world attending shows, finding inspiration and staying attuned to what is au courant internationally and regionally.

“It is a natural attitude for us: we never followed fashion trends – rather, we have created a personal style, always the same over the years, making each Buccellati jewel timeless,” he says of the Maison’s approach. “I think Buccellati is a very particular brand and this is because we have always maintained a unique style. The brand remains in a unique position thanks to its aesthetic canons and staying true to itself.”

As Mosaico continues to captivate, for Luca the search for his next inspiration will take him from the vaulted ceilings of ancient churches and mausoleums to… who knows where – because he won’t tell. “Every new high jewellery collection takes two to three years of work,” he says. “We are working on our new collection, but it will be a secret until the moment of the presentation.” The search for the muse continues…

Visit and follow @buccellatimilan on Instagram.

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