The Royal Jewellers S04 ep1 : Buccellati Jewellers [Milan]
Interview with Luca & Gianmaria Buccellati
According to family history, the Buccellati's first foray into the jewellery trade was in the mid-eighteenth century when Contardo Buccellati worked as a goldsmith in Milan. In 1903, Mario Buccellati revived the family tradition, apprenticing at Milan’s prestigious Beltrami & Beltrami. In 1919, Buccellati took over the firm, changing its name to Buccellati. International acclaim came quickly. Exhibiting at Madrid’s 1920 Exposition, Mario Buccellati caught the public’s attention when he hurled an expensive compact out a window when a woman asked for a discount, shouting, “I am not a tradesman!” The next day, hundreds turned up to look at his booth, curious to see the unknown jeweller’s pieces. Everything sold. Buccellati was then invited to exhibit his work at a solo show; Spanish aristocrats came in droves, including the royal family who became lifelong clients.
My name is Luca Buccellatti. We are at the Baselworld exhibition.
All the people recognize Buccellatti as a top luxury jewel hand made. Some of them consider Buccellatti an art.
When I was a kid I thought of playing drum in a rock and roll band. I know all the songs for AC/DC. I did that and I’m still doing
actually. At that time my father said ok you can go playing and call me when you did something.
I took a lot of lessons to be a drummer but at the end I got a great delusion because I went to a big place, a famous place in
Milano where all the big drummers were there. And I auditioned. I just took my stick in my hand and go 1 2 3 4. I heard the boss
say “Okay thank you”, one minute and they kicked me out.
I was studying in the university in Milano and my father one day came to me in the morning and said” you have two choices,
you can go to the United States and study and then come back and work for me or you can leave this house right now”. It was 4
o’clock in the morning. So okay I go to America. I packed my bag and take a taxi and I go. I was 22 years old and I came back
when I was 26,
In 1972, there were arguments about the strategy and running of the Mario Buccellatti company and so they split the company. From 1972
up to 2011 there were two different companies. Sometimes I met with Joe Maria, I met my cousin Andrea, my cousins Marie-
Cristina and Gino. And we always talk, whispering may be one day. And once we find it, when we do it we will make a big
reunion and now the company is only one, it’s only Buccellatti
We have all the offices in other parts of Milano, then we have the store in Montenapoleone number 33 and then we have
several stores around the world, New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, we have in Paris and London, we have Moscow and now we
open up a new store in Chicago in a beautiful position. We are planning to open up a new store in China.
It’s still not easy working with family. Every single one now is finding now new position, new role in the company. So one of my
cousins is the designer because he has great skills designing, Mary Christina is marketing and Gino takes care of the silver and
production, huge production of silver and the. Me and the other team of people would be the ones who sell the stuff, be the
face of Buccellatti around the world and doing stuff and will be travelling a lot in the next five years.
This business is something that I have really to be honest with you, deep inside me. There’s something in my DNA in my blood,
it’s comes like a drum. And I grew up with it. When I came back from the states and I was supposed to be like a genius
studying at the GIA and it was 1989. My father said okay Luca come to me, you can start working with me. Okay clean the
window. and so for six months I was cleaning the windows.
Then he said okay now you are allowed to watch the people working. So we went to a place where people work with their
hands, to see engraving and setting the stones and I stayed there for two years in a row. Okay now that you know, now you can
talk to goldsmith to see how they have to do the work and everything. Then I grew up very slowly.
My uncle GianMaria studied a new collection called the Filligri that takes its roots from an ancient way to work the gold. It’s a
new collection, very easy collection, real affordable and it’s really nice. We have the great reaction in the United States, the
people who came to our launch, like the pieces very much, they placed a lot of orders. So is something that is still Buccellatti but
young and different. What is funny and interesting is that my uncle is 83 and he did that.
I have the honour to meet and make the flatware silver for Elton John. He came to my store when I just came back from the
states. And he came with his boyfriend and he was like a big star for me. I did not even recognize it was Elton John. Then my
telephone was ringing in my office said you have to come down because Elton John is in the store. I came down and took a
picture with Elton John loss of silver. And I met Frank Sinatra at his house in Beverly Hills. I took a plane and when they are with
all my jewelry. It was like 1994 and so nobody checked me, it was before the twin towers. You could go in the station with a lot
of jewelry in your pocket. My wife, well my girlfriend at the time she was wearing earrings, three bracelets, full of jewelry. We
went there to Frank Sinatra’s house and I met him and took a picture with him
There is something that my uncle didn’t tell you. When they were young in 1925 to 1926 my father played the violin and
GianMaria played the violincello. And another uncle called Luca played the piano and the other one played the flute or
something like that, and they made a concert. So everybody has music inside.
Even my daughter when she was three years old, I used to listen to music from TNT. She would sing “TNT dynamite”.
The art of jewelry of the goldsmith is from silver to gold to platinum to diamond to everything. But our job is everything and
that is the antique way in which the goldsmith recognizes themselves.
I try to be the right continuation of one very big family tradition. We in this business since the half of the 18th century, so is more
than 250 years that we in this business, my father and the people before me and I try to be at the same level of the past.
I played violin for more than 15 years. My teacher was Michelangelo Abbado was the director of the Conservatory of Milano. I
remember the young Messer when they are little boys because I go to his home. I love music, I cannot stay without music. In
Milano I always have classical music in my studio.
Music for me is really the most important art, that is what goes in my heart. Of course painting, sculpture, architecture,
everything is a big art. But I really love as the number one is music.
I see in the music the spirit of the Epoque, the era [10:58] in which the composer created [did] [11:05]. I cannot say I don’t like
VERDI or RAVEL [11:10]. So everyone represents his period of music, but my favorite is Mozart,
I lived in the Toscanini house. I have the same place where he was and I loved Toscanini because for me he was one of the
biggest directors in the world. One day when he was at dinner with some people, someone asked him but master which one you
like more between the musicians. He said of course the 3Bs. The 3Bs which one? He said Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. This was
surprising and where do you put Mozart? Toscanini says ,its not a problem, Mozart is the music. He is not a composer, he is the
music. Its something that I loved very much, both because I lived in the Toscanini house and because it represents my opinion
By sentiments is during the execution of the item. When the item is finished, believe me that interest me very much. Because I
am already thinking it’s another one.
I have to tell you honestly. Many people consider me like an artist and I refuse. Because is not that jewellery is not an art, it is
an art but is a minor art and I am an interpreter. I am a very good goldsmith, but I am not an artist.
There is a lot of minor art like the glasses for example. There is art in the garment, the fashion. These art are everywhere,
because everyone is creating, but it is minor. You know the big arts are 4 or 5…
Here you have a presentation of Calo [14:22]. Calo was a very famous engraver and designer at the end of the 16th century to the
beginning of the 17th century. And I love him because with his design he expressed life. It’s like a picture of his time and he made
more than 1500 designs that represents the life of that moment. So they give me a lot of emotions. For example I did a basket
and I was thinking of Caravaggio [15:09]. When I make a certain kind of very defined decoration, I look to many of the artists of
the 16th century and they made these kind of very particular designs. I was impressed even by the silver of the Roman period,
the Latin and I reproduced the Boscoreale. Boscoreale is one of the very few kinds of silver that we still have from Rome. It was
found in Napoli in one house when there was the eruption of the Versuvius in Pompeii. And so everything interests me and
gives me an emotion.
I am what I am, and my artisans are my close friends because through them I can realize my designs. I have to be very thankful
to my artisans because they give me their capacity and I gave them the possibility to express themselves.
There is one special one, Andrea who is my follower, you know like I follow my father. In every Buccellatti family there is only
one. I don’t know if its our DNA or what, I don’t’ know. But also in the past, I was the fourth of five sons and I was the only one
who was clever to do this. All the others they do a lot of things but not designing jewelry.
I create a few years ago a foundation, where I put all the items , and I took from my father the most important I also create a
series of items like cups, boxes, candlesticks or something like that, that will not be for sale in homage to the name of my family.
I have the honor to be invited by many museums, but the most important was the Smithsonian in Washington and the Kremlin
in Moscow. Both exhibitions endued for many months, and they asked me to continue because there were so many people in
Moscow about 120,000 people
That is my life and these are the pieces of the collection that I created not to sell.
When you hear the voice of one violin or even one violin-cello. The violin-cello is the human voice and it’s marvelous. I know
many very important cellists, even Casals I meet one day, but I am not so important like them. I am a good jeweler. That is me.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Buccellati