An Exclusive Chat with Atelier VM

Into the exclusive world of Atelier VM where gold and stones come together in an alchemic way to tell a story and to even hide a few secrets


In Milan, many women can be seen wearing a certain crystal necklace, a thin gold chain with a crystal pendant—and ladies are able to choose the color that best fits their personalities. It is sold by Atelier VM, a jewelry workshop that is as elegant as it is small, created by Marta Caffarelli and Viola Naj-Oleari, two friends who share an aesthetic that is poetic and contemporary. We asked Viola to bring us into their exclusive world where gold and stones come together in an alchemic way to tell a story and to even hide a few secrets.

How did you meet and what do you have in common?
Marta and I met at high school and became friends. And as friends, we had youthful dreams and interests in common. We grew up and had the courage and instinct to start a company at the age of 20. Like in all important endeavors, we put in a lot of effort and we tried to work as a team and make our dream come true. And we made it to today by believing in our jewels. Another thing we had in common was an attraction to the small, delicate and secret worlds found inside a jewelry piece. The meaning that a jewel can have for the wearer is something that is like a true spark. In this common goal, we’ve been guided by a passion that is both childlike and adult, a fascinating alchemy somewhere between imagination and tradition.

In 2018, your brand turned 20. Did you expect all of the success you’ve had?
We brought the necessary structure to our plan. We didn’t just daydream. Our intention was full of possibilities, and we followed our idea of success with instinct and willpower. We still feel like there is a lot left to do. We are optimists by nature.

What have been your most iconic jewels?
Most definitely the L’Essenziale bracelet, a chain in 18kt gold that is laser-welded directly on the wrist, a versatile symbol of love in all of its interpretations. Then the Non è Niente necklace, a chain in 18kt gold that has little knots welded on it. The Impronta ring is really important to us. A digital fingerprint is taken on wax and then mounted on the ring. It started out as an engagement ring so people could exchange their own fingerprints.

What materials and stones do you love working with?
Gold mostly, alone or with precious stones. When I chose stones, it is as if they are calling me. I feel a connection with them and that brings about a jewelry piece right away. I don’t necessarily follow the established classification of stones, or astrological signs, or anything that goes into the value of a stone.

You have a minimalist, poetic aesthetic. What do you think of flashier or ostentatious jewels?
There are some gorgeous rings with double or triple diamonds that I don’t mind at all. I also like tiaras. I love fine jewelry if it has a nice design or really precious stones.

Does the art and culture scene in Milan influence you in any way?
We grew up in Milan. We have taken inspiration from the understatement of some of the wonderful Milanese ladies, but our personal form of minimalism comes from the first pieces we did in America, before 2000 with Barney’s. We designed various collections for them. Our minimalism was formed on the other side of the ocean, and we brought it here. That is perhaps why we have become some of the best at this style. Our city supports us, especially now that things are booming here.

The next stop on your creative journey?
The next step will be the welded necklace and ankle bracelet. They will be part of the L’Essenziale line, but another laser machine is going to be used. We will be ready for summer!

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