«Everything is manufactured in a buzzing workshop»
«A business person who is a bit of an irreverent heretic.» This is how Giovanni Raspini, born in 1950, describes himself. He is a silversmith who previously worked as an architect, but he has a hard time calling himself an artist. Yet, his jewels are in their own creative sphere with a strong identity. «I am responsible for sixty employees. I don’t have the luxury of defining myself as such,» he explains from his workshop, a constantly evolving place, in Arezzo, where, every morning, silver is melted down so that it can be turned into jewelry. «Everything is manufactured here in Arezzo, in a buzzing workshop. There were twenty of us working, then forty and so on. Today, there are sixty employees. We fuse silver every morning, and it’s still a magical spectacle. You can sense the craftsmanship and creativity, and all of the passion that we put into making new things with the desire of pleasing our clients.» So craftsmanship and manual working methods are at the center of things, but there’s also an entrepreneurial view of things here—«I worked as an architect. I’m used to making plans»—that is allowing the Raspini company to continue to grow. «The market keeps asking me to make jewelry so, naturally, I respond.» Long ago, the brand had its first shop in Rome, in Via Margutta — this was a sentimental choice due to Giovanni’s desire to be close to where Federico Fellini had lived, in the name of ‘genius loci.’ Today, the boutique is in the famous Via del Babuino, a top shopping destination in the Italian capital. This is just one of the fifteen flagship stores. There are others in cities like Milan, Venice, Monte Carlo, London, and Forte dei Marmi (the latest). There is also a network of distributors. «We work with department stores where our product is seen more as a fashion accessory than a form of investment. In the past, the objective was to sell and be paid. Now we ask those we work with to participate in our project, making the most of our jewels by displaying them in a way that we decide on together, which shows our style, bringing them value and allowing them to be properly interpreted.» Because Raspini jewels aren’t meant to be merely looked at and worn. They need to be properly represented, because of the various tactile sensations they offer and the many stories they have to tell. It all starts with natural inspirations—crocodile or turtle patterns, shells, a leaf, or the depths of the sea, which can be translated into a wearable accessory only with silver. «There is no other material able to create such meticulous chiaroscuro effects.» With its big personality and malleability, silver is certainly the perfect partner.