The words of Paolo Cazzaniga, gold artist who, in the heart of Rome, creates items with a Mediterranean spirit, custodians of collective artistic roots
Tuesday, 12 June 2018,
by Antonella Reina
Mediterranean Sea Coral pendant and sketchings
Cazzaniga's old shops in via Frattina, Rome
perfume holder pendant
«Reminiscent of Mediterranean culture»
«Something new yet immediately recognizable,» this is how Paolo Cazzaniga describes the jewelry he creates in his studio in the historical centre of Rome, in via Passeggiata di Ripetta, an alley just a stone's throw away from Piazza del Popolo, where time seems to have stopped. His goldsmith workshop is one of the most famous in the capital. Founded in 1929 by his father, Angelo Giorgio Cazzaniga, Paolo has been running the business since 1973, designing exclusive collections of high jewelry for an accurately selected international clientele. But how can something new appear immediately familiar to our eyes? «Its style is reminiscent of Mediterranean culture» he explains. «All of my jewelry has elements belonging to artistic trends of the past: from Greek and Roman art to Baroque, from Byzantine art to that of the Renaissance.» And the essence of Cazzaniga's creations, or 'objects' - as he calls them - lies exactly in the style which, unlike those produced in series, «must be explained and narrated,» due to the complexity of their designs and the versatile use of colors, decorations and ancient-looking engravings. Rings, brooches, necklaces, earrings but also medallions, crosses, perfume holders and powder compacts. Items of artisan manufacture with a classical, yet at the same time, experimental flair, where opulence, precious materials and traditional techniques merge to evoke emotions.
Fiocco Francese brooch.
Cazzaniga's historic shops in piazza San Lorenzo in Lucina, Rome.
Paolo has transformed the perfume holder into an item of jewelry to be worn
Gold in all its shades, ruby and emerald, and then jade, turquoise, coral, all shaped by a unique stylistic code and immediately identifiable, something which has allowed Paolo Cazzaniga to seduce the demanding international markets. One only has to think of the collaboration, which began in 1979, with the Russian princess Tatjana Pomus, an internationally famous artist who opened the doors to the Japanese market where Cazzaniga now has privileged relations. The gold artist himself admits it by telling an amusing story: «Once I welcomed a series of customers from Osaka, all the women were wearing one of my perfume holders round their necks. One man asked me “Did you by any chance found a religion?”.» In fact, the perfume holder is one of Cazziniga's iconic pieces which Paolo has transformed into an item of jewelry to be worn. «Perfume holders, like powder compacts, are usually kept in a handbag. Entrusting in the vanity of women, I thought it would be interesting to be able to show them off by transforming them into a pendant to be worn round the neck or to attach to a brooch.» Even Princess Grace Kelly had one: a large pendant made of gold, with brilliant cut diamonds and rubies, a gift from an orchestra conductor who, some time ago, went to Cazzaniga to look for an unforgettable gift. And he found it.