Monday, April 25, 2011


18-Karat Yellow Gold and Diamond
Open Work Ring
A great way to see the Italian coastline is to drive along the beautiful yet crowded route known as Amalfi Drive.

 Located in Sorrento, Italy Amalfi Drive is a one-way stretch of road that allows for glimpses of mountains and picturesque villages. Italy is also home to featured jewelry designer Orlando Orlandini.

When I recall the Italian jewelry designers I have featured on this blog such as Franco Pianegonda, Marco Bicego, and Giovanni Corvaja it is no wonder that Italy is at the forefront of the fashion industry.

Cutting-edge innovation and experimentation is central to many jewelry artisans’ design approach. However, as far as what I have learned since starting this blog, Italian jewelers have a remarkable passion for moving beyond limits of what is believed possible in jewelry making.

Their dedication, in my eyes at least, is unparalleled. Bicego spent a number of years perfecting his signature design: a flattened coil of 18-karat gold.

Corvaja took a 10-year-long journey to bring down the size of a gold wire to that of human hair while developing his Golden Fleece Collection. This truly reflects an amazing feat of patience as well as a sheer labor of love.

Orlandini of course shares the same kind of zeal. One look at the 18-karat gold bracelets, gold pendants, and gold necklaces featured at both his official website, and online retailer, I knew right away he is committed to creating designer jewelry with distinctive beauty.

It has been great to learn how artistic vision ultimately makes a piece of jewelry a work of art. The offspring of artistically gifted parents, Orlandini followed the footsteps of his father and studied sculpture at the Academia delle Belle Arte.

18-Karat Yellow Gold Diamonds Drop Net Necklace
Understanding the technical similarities between sculpture and jewelry making Orlandini’s first gig designing and creating jewelry came with accepting the offer to create one-of-a-kind pieces for art galleries. Not long after, he founded his workshop, Atelier d’Arte Orafa in Florence, Italy.

An independent designer for nearly thirty years, Orlandini works with his wife and two children amidst “olive groves and lush vineyards” that provide a “constant source of inspiration.” His high-end, fine jewelry collections are created in limited production and they highlight stunning visual complexity.

His assortment of gold and diamond accented jewelry is made entirely by hand. Lithe and delicate in appearance each piece is inspired by the contours of the female body. “A woman’s body is the personification of harmony and beauty,” he says.

“The designs are created to caress the skin, and adapt to the body in the same way as fabric. Our objective is to transform gold, a solid metal, into wearable golden fabrics that drape over the skin and give a soft, silk-like sensation.”

His designs are magnificent renderings implementing an undisclosed technique that mimics the look of filigree or crochet. In some cases the gold bracelet, necklace or gold ring is actually a mesh of slender, tiny gold circle links, thin strands of gold peppered with small diamonds, or tightly packed gold discs.

18-Karat Yellow Gold Drop Earrings
His jewelry collections, influenced by medieval chain maille to sand dunes, are dazzling feats of engineering and it is no surprise they have earned him the Couture Design Award four times (in 1999, 2001, 2002, and 2005), as well as the Tahitian Pearl Trophy twice (in 2001 and 2003).

“The most important characteristic of our collections is the luminosity obtained by the meticulous labor of hand forming, giving the gold a gem-like quality; capturing and reflecting light from its many small surfaces.”
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