Buccellati remains a privately owned, family-run Italian jeweler known for its one-of-a-kind creations. Elite Traveler Editor-in-Chief Doug Gollan recently visited Buccellati’s Milan headquarters where he met with Gianmaria Buccellati to talk about his life’s passion and what inspires him.
ET: Tell us about the history of Buccellati.
Gianmaria Buccellati: My father was a jeweler and a goldsmith, and I began working in my family’s shop when I was a teenager. Three years later he allowed me to start running the shop, through which I met many of Milan’s most important jewelers, buyers and more. After my father’s death in 1965, my three brothers and I founded MABUTI S.r.l to carry on the family tradition but as the brand grew two of our brothers chose to stay in Italy to pursue less hectic lifestyles. Eventually my brother Luca and I broke off to pursue our worldwide vision, creating Buccellati in the process.
ET: What roles have you played in the business throughout your career?
Gianmaria Buccellati: My long career started when I was 14 (70 years ago!) and started working with my father. My main goal has always been to make the company grow, increase and expand. In this way and thanks to the top quality level, my brand has acquired a worldwide fame today.
ET: Did you ever envision not being part of the business growing up or have thoughts of a different career?
Gianmaria Buccellati: I never had the idea of not becoming a jeweler: This is not simply my career, but my own life, and I cannot think of doing something else besides being a jeweler. It would be like not being a Buccellati.
ET: Your children are now in the business. Transitions from generations are often difficult. What advice do you have for readers that also own multigenerational businesses?
Gianmaria Buccellati: My children are over 50 now: They spent all their lives working beside me and have learned perfectly what they are presently carrying out. At the moment there are no difficulties, and I think there never must be. Their experience is just like mine and, just like me, they demand quality, perfection and commitment to a famous name. Of course, I can give my advice to all those readers who manage multigenerational businesses: I recommend to actively involve as much as we can all the people who will have to become worthy continuers of the business itself.
ET: What makes Buccellati so special?
Gianmaria Buccellati: Buccellati is special for how it conceives jewels: They must have a real and intellectual structure, which is totally different from other jewels because it refers to the aesthetic canons dating back to Renaissance times. Moreover, all the most important pieces (forming almost the 50 percent of our production) are one of a kind, and this makes the jewel even more special and precious to the client who owns it.
ET: Where do you get your inspiration for design?
Gianmaria Buccellati: Inspiration can come in different ways: It can spring out of a particular stone, with a rare quality or color, or arouse from a meeting with a client who asks for a customized object and therefore talks with me to make me understand his/her wishes. But basically, the sources of inspiration of a Buccellati jewel are nature in all its forms (leaves, animals, flowers), details of architectural Renaissance and Classic elements, and above all, the ancient Valenciennes or Venetian laces to be reproduced in Eternelle rings or bracelets.
ET: You have created some amazing objects. What are some of your favorite creations and why?
Gianmaria Buccellati: To tell you the truth, every time I create an object that I adore, I decide not to sell it. This is what I did with some cups and other works of art that I put in my personal private collection. Nowadays, it is composed of several items that I lend to museums and exhibitions just for display, but it is my firm intention to keep all of them in my personal collection.
ET: When you are not working, any hobbies or leisure pursuits?
Gianmaria Buccellati: My life is based on work, so everything I do, I do it for work. But the most important thing is that I enjoy working, so everything I do is fun for me.
ET: Any favorite hotels and resorts when you are traveling?
Gianmaria Buccellati: I have traveled a lot during my life, and always for working reasons: I’ve had the chance to visit all the most beautiful hotel and resorts of the world, and I really cannot make a ranking list, because each one has its own unique characteristics.
ET: Anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Gianmaria Buccellati: I have been very happy to have this interview because it give me the chance to make myself known a little more to all the readers of Elite Traveler, and I wish they will appreciate my creations …. and perhaps visit one of my stores worldwide!