Republic Day
Quadrilatero d'Oro

Ornamenti d'Autore

"Even in a piece of non-precious jewelry, you can see the world."
-Deanna Farneti Cera
On Monday morning we visited Oramenti d'Autore, the atelier of Deanna Farneti Cera, a world renowned collector and scholar of fashion jewelry (also referred to as "Bijoux," but preferably not "costume.") Image
Deanna has thousands of pieces in her collection, including notable items from Chanel, Givenchy, and a necklace Audrey Hepburn wore in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Interestingly, I had seen some of her pieces before, as she supplied a lot of the items featured in a recent exhibit at the Museum of Art and Design in New YOrk City. That one featured the collection of Barbera Burger, who is the top collector of fashion jewelry in the world, and to whom Deanna sold many pieces. Image
Deanna has incredible knowledge of, and passion for, the world of Bijoux, having spent over 30 years in the industry and written a dozen books on the topic. Listening to her speak, you realize that every piece of jewelry is an artifact with cultural significance. Image
She talked about how this type of jewelry came to be - in the 1800's the bourgeoisie wanted to have the kind of jewelry that the nobility had, and new materials became available to make similar, but more affordable versions - and how this kind of jewelry evolved based on the decade and the character of the country of origin. For example, Dior in the 1950's loved the work of Claude Monet, so his brooches were very delicate and flowery; in contrast, costume jewels coming out of the U.S. in the 1980's were very ostentatious, like the times. She also reviewed major turning points in the history of Bijoux, like in 1895 when handmade crystal stones transitioned to industrial cut thanks to Swarovski's patented machine. Image
After her talk, we were allowed to explore the atelier and all of the jewelry and books it houses. It's a cool space: white walls and ceilings with a wrought iron spiral staircase joining the ground floor with a second floor loft, both ares full of jewelry trays, display cases, and stacks of books. Image
Here I am sporting an elaborate Givenchy necklace (pictured above)... Image
...and holding a hand-made beaded clutch that was carried by Jackie Onassis (pictured). Image
What an interesting and enjoyable visit - Deanna was so kind to spend so much time with us, especially on a holiday!


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