Gioielleria Carli Since 1655

We are in Tuscany, in the town of Lucca, to discover the oldest jewelry shop in the world, where the family Carli has, for more than 350 years, been creating their own Wunderkammer


  • Luigi Carli and son, 1850 ca. Boiserie and crystals dated back to 1831, Via Fillungo 95, Lucca.

    Luigi Carli and son, 1850 ca. Boiserie and crystals dated back to 1831, Via Fillungo 95, Lucca.

A shop worthy of being the setting for an Oscar-winning film. That experience is just one of the “eras” to have taken place within the walls of the Gioielleria Carli. In 1996, Nicole Kidman walked into the space at Via Fillungo 95 looking to buy a hat. The movie was “The Portrait of a Lady”, and the display cases in wood and crystal featured hats and veils. These are the same display cases where, since 1831, brooches, rings, necklaces and tiaras in diamonds and precious stones have been wonderfully showcased. Jane Campion was not the first director to come here. Luchino Visconti brought costume designer Piero Tosi here and asked the master goldsmiths to make the brooches on Laura Antonelli’s costumes “dance.” And the Carlis did it, way ahead of today’s “dancing diamonds” trend. But the history of this family goes back much further. The Carli family archives contain documents and memories from over the generations that go all the way back to 1655 when Carlo Carli started what is one of the oldest shops in the world. It is certainly the oldest jewelry shop. 

«There are many anecdotes. The first one goes back to 1665, the year when my ancestor, Carlo, made the crown for the Holy Face of Lucca. This was a religious commission, and over the decades many of the most famous aristocratic families in Lucca and beyond commissioned pieces as well. It would seem that another of my ancestors was in good graces with Princess Elisa Bonaparte. At the end of the 18th century, Luigi Carli already had business in Switzerland where he had Carli pendulum clocks manufactured by Zenith,» says Pietro Carli. Today, a visit to the city wouldn’t be complete without stopping to look at these windows, which have remain unchanged. Tourists and visitors marvel at the frescoed arches and the one-off pieces in the collections; it is almost a Wunderkammer, the result of research throughout Europe. A 1920s ring in white gold and diamonds, a 1940s bracelet with baguette-cut diamonds, and a coral necklace with enameled clasp from the end of the 19th century. This is what is available today, but who knows what the next auction will bring to Lucca…

  • The XIX century interiors and painted ceilings at Gioielleria Carli.

    The XIX century interiors and painted ceilings at Gioielleria Carli.

  • The XIX century interiors and painted ceilings at Gioielleria Carli.

    The XIX century interiors and painted ceilings at Gioielleria Carli.

  • The XIX century interiors and painted ceilings at Gioielleria Carli.

    The XIX century interiors and painted ceilings at Gioielleria Carli.

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