Friday, May 29, 2009


We're in Torino, Italy today standing in Valentino Park just outside Castello del Valentino (Valentino Castle), which is loaded with history.

Centuries ago, monarchs used the castle for feasts and special events; presently, the castle is the center for Torino's Faculty of Architecture. Italy is also the home of featured jewelry designer Licia Mattioli.

The city of Torino's first chocolate candy factory was built in the 19th century. It's no wonder that Mattioli devoted her Cocoa Collection to this wonderfully sweet and versatile indulgence.

The collection features chain-link necklaces, bracelets, and earrings in distinctive, 18-karat brown gold. So how did Mattioli come about turning gold into chocolate? Let's go back 14 years.

In 1995, Mattioli worked as an attorney when her father, Luciano, purchased Antica Ditta Marchisio, the most revered and oldest jewelry-making workshop in Torino. Luciano, once the head of a prestigious company, asked his daughter to assist him in managerial responsibilities. A fan of contemporary Italian art, Mattioli took on her duties with tenacity and determination.

She respected the time-honored chain-link designs of Attica Ditta Marchisio while also energizing the company with a new, bold directive.

She would develop a brand for the company, with her namesake, for distribution to Japan, Europe, and the United States; she would introduce unique designs using blue iolite, lime green peridot, pink rhodolite, and diamonds; and she would develop partnerships with other longstanding brands such as Tiffany & Co. (USA), and Cartier (France) thus maintaining the company's powerful presence in the industry and its history of excellence.

Just recently, Mattioli created an 18-karat gold leaf necklace designed by actor Susan Sarandon for World Gold Council's Leaves of Change charity benefit.

Sotheby's auctioned the lovely piece and the proceeds were given to Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, a charity chosen by Sarandon.
Photo 1 (top right): 18-Karat Gold and Diamond Ring with Horn
Photo 2 (bottom left): 18-Karat Matte/Polished Gold Leaf Necklace with Moonstone for WGC’s Leaves of Change
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