CRAFTSMANSHIP, HERITAGE, DREAMS
Fratelli Piccini CEO Elisa Tozzi Piccini shares a piece of her mind on how jewelry can empower the wearer, her childhood, growing up surrounded by jewelry and the beauty of Florence, and jewelry style advice.
Growing up, did you visit your grandfather’s atelier a lot? How did it inspire you to continue the family business?
When I was a little girl maybe aged 5 or 6, I used to come by the Ponte Vecchio store with my grandmother. I remember opening the drawers of the safes, looking at what was inside and then climbing into the lab and looking at my uncle Armando who was working: he was engraving, creating jewelry or explaining to our workers how some jewels had to be constructed. I remember that I paused, I looked, I wanted to try, I had fun; it was like entering the world of fairies because climbing was in itself a fun thing in the eyes of a child. I was little.
What makes Piccini craftsmanship unlike no other?
The Fratelli Piccini shop is a tiny craftsmanship shop. Perhaps the difference lies in the defect because all jewels are made by hand, created, tried and adjusted. It’s similar to a tailor-made dress, pieces made by a seamstress that when created tried and fitted many times. Like all things made by hand, of course defects are a natural part of it. Most times it is visible only to the eye whom created it. In the end it becomes what makes our jewelry unique, because perfection is always sought but where there is the hand of man there is always something imperfect. It is the beauty of being artisans, at least for me.
What is unique about Elisa One collection and what differentiates it from Piccini One?
The Elisa ONE collection represents exercises of style. Like all those who practice a profession, you are always looking for something different because the ordinary, though beautiful, eventually fatigued your eyes. Likewise I try to find alternative designs rooted in the principles of jewelry: unusual combinations, experimenting with materials, etc. I also experiment with semi-precious stones, which don’t have the same reputation as diamond but somehow identify me, and wearing them I have the feeling that they have always belonged to me.
Different from the Piccini ONE collection, Elisa ONE is represented by the use of materials and more daring selection of stones. The high jewelry makes use of traditional stones, precious and par excellence, such as brilliant, ruby, sapphire, emerald. The two collections are, however, united by the same voice. In fact, both used the same technique of high jewelry, regardless of the materials used.
We know that diamonds are a girl’s best friend. But which other gemstones can accompany your daily life?
Diamond is par excellence; it is the stone that fascinates everyone, men and women. They are not only the best friends of the woman, as Marylin Monroe sang, but they are never too big!!! They are fascinating stones in their variety of cuts and colors. But my great passion, perhaps being a gemmologist, are colored stones. Not only classic stones but also ones less commercially known. Sapphires, with their multitude of colors and varieties such as padparadscha, beryls such as paraiba tourmalines or morganite, or chrysoberyls such as cat’s eye, spinels, kunzite, hard stones, opals.
There is a universe within these stones. Inclusions, color, individual properties represent our DNA. I’m thirsty for color!
Which Piccini jewelry items would you suggest for a woman who never bought jewelry before and looking for something to wear for everyday?
I think every woman is unique and the choice of jewels representing them can be endless. It is fundamental to first understand the type of person, her personality and her lifestyle. When a customer does not have a precise idea, I would put everything on her indiscriminately until you run into that jewel that conveys the feeling of having always belonged to her. A jewel is not only aimed at enhancing the beauty of the wearer but above all reflects her soul, her way of being, her way of moving.
Recommending a jewel is a one-to-one comparison. Personally I prefer the rings but I reiterate that every choice is personal and in order to be able to advise it is necessary to establish a relationship with the customer so that it is a conscious and satisfying choice. It is essential that every purchase makes you happy.
Which jewelry item would you buy for your daughter or daughter in law, if you have one?
If I were to give a gift to my daughter or my daughter-in-law, I would give a precious stone. There are many possibilities of use. Over time the frames may vary and the object may undergo transformations, but the stone remains unchanged, a precious memory to take with you forever.
What inspires you about Florence, the culture, the arts and way of life that you translate into your jewelry designs?
Florence is an incredible source of inspiration for our jewels. From the arts, history, the nature that surrounds it, its colors, museums with their masterpieces, and its architecture. You can see Florence in almost all our jewelry collection – from the Anita, Tetti di Firenze, Moments, to Bloom. I am fascinated to give life to jewelry that somehow enclose this beauty always remaining linked to the tradition of Florentine craftsmanship with modern interpretation, to give a new face always adding a touch of customization.
Describe 3 of your favorite Piccini designs and why?
I am very attached to everything that somehow reminds me of my uncle Armando (Piccini), when he used to stay at the workshop. He created techniques that led to the realization of almost three-dimensional jewelry. The time taken to build them was irrelevant. They are trully works of art. The jewel came to life, it was animated.
What fascinates me the most is all the work behind the finished product. As they say “the goal is not important, but the path”.
What inspired the Anita collection?
The Anita collection is named after my grandmother, Anita. She was a very austere woman, very sweet at the same time, and passionate about flowers. Her favorite was the iris which in Florence is also called giaggiolo. We wanted to dedicate a collection that would represent this flower that is also the symbol of Florence. It’s a very delicate collection, just like she was.
Do you have any particular collection that brings back beautiful memories?
Growing up and having spent part of my childhood always close to my grandfather, my uncle and our lab workers leads me to love our collections with engraved stones, whether they are precious or semi-precious, cameos and the whole Piccini ONE collection that embeds gems of rare beauty.