Gold bows into submission in the hands of Annamaria Cammilli, the illustrious Florence-based jewellery artist who is revered for her nature-inspired three-dimensional works of art.
An eminent sculptor and painter, Annamaria instead decided to tap her creative forces into designing jewellery. The venerated artist is credited with inventing 8 new gold colours for her mesmerising sculpted renditions.
She uses her genius to delightfully blend three art mediums – sculpting, painting, and jewellery designing to mimic nature in a realistic manner.
All her creations are a tribute to Florence, her birthplace, and the cradle of Renaissance!
You are a multi-disciplinary artist … a painter, sculptor and an inventive jewellery designer. Why did you finally pursue jewellery designing?
I have always enjoyed making art, since when I was a child. Over the years this passion has grown steadily and brought me to explore all the possibilities of creativity: from painting to sculpting and engraving. As my husband belonged to a goldsmith family, I started to apply my artistic flair to jewellery design in the seventies.
The result was stunning: I discovered that gold could become my canvas and gems, the colours to express my creativity.
When and how was the brand Annamaria Cammilli born?
I started designing jewellery for my husband’s retail shop situated in the heart of Florence. My pieces were immediately appreciated by elite connoisseurs, and I enjoyed success thanks to their artistically inclined aesthetics.
On the other hand, I couldn’t expect anything better than fuelling my passion for art into profession. That’s how I started to think big and decided to gear up for something more important: to produce for other jewellers.
In Italy in the 1980s it was not easy for a woman to work and establish oneself in an entrepreneurial milieu dominated by men, but with tireless determination, I embarked on my path as a jeweller. I succeeded thanks to some master goldsmiths who trusted me and gave me unstinting support during my initial stages as a designer.
As a painter and sculptor, do you view jewellery designing differently?
Ever since I started designing jewellery, I realised that it was a creative expression that I could never give up. Jewellery design allows me to combine the passion for sculpture by shaping the volumes in gold and my love for painting, by giving life to lively coloured jewellery pieces with a timeless flair.
Your design signature is distinct and can be easily identified among the galaxy of designs. One is texture… the special “Aetherna” gold finish, the alternating shiny and velvety gold surfaces that lend an iridescent appearance to jewels. How did you come to invent it?
Soon after I started my career as a jewellery designer, I realised that I needed a special finish of gold to make the three-dimensionality of my sculptural pieces stand out.
I worked day and night with my goldsmiths, until we managed to develop a special technique that lent a soft, velvety appearance to the surfaces of the jewels and exalted their volumes thanks to the alternation of shiny gold edging.
This is how Aetherna became the exclusive gold-finishing method that has always distinguished the Annamaria Cammilli jewels, a secret recipe handed down over the years.
And most importantly, a silky effect that does not deteriorate over time.
What role does fashion play in your jewellery creations?
Fashion plays a key role, as jewellery should always match the outfit and the style of the woman who’s wearing it, to make her feel truly unique.
We continuously work to improve the wearability of our jewels, develop new models so that our jewels become more and more suitable for an increasing number of customers, demanding for a contemporary, dynamic yet artistic jewel.
Your lines are nature-inspired and realistic to the core. How do you replicate the veins, curves and grains of, say, a flower or a dune, in gold, and achieve a 3D sculptural feel?
Our jewels are made with the lost wax casting technique, the most ancient and romantic method to create jewellery. This allows me and the whole creative team to literally model the shapes of the jewel’s prototypes in wax, just as if they were micro-sculptures.
Unlike many other techniques used in the jewellery industry, where a sketch is scanned and then, as a second step, made three-dimensional by a software, here the shapes are born three-dimensional thanks to the expert hands of our team. Sculpting skills, decades of experience, creativity and meticulous attention to detail come together to create new and unexpected shapes.
The painter in you has also helped you create various colours of your main canvas – gold! You have invented 8 new gold colours so far. Could you tell us what colours are these and how do you invent a new colour palette every so often?
As I embarked on the adventure of becoming a jewellery designer, I immediately felt that something was missing. I felt the need to expand the possibilities to express myself in shapes…but also in colours, as I used to do in my paintings. So, I started experimenting with my team and over the years we managed to produce a whole palette of colours, obtained with special gold alloys or through subsequent rhodium baths.
Unique shades ranging from the timeless Yellow Sunrise to the fascinating Black Lava, from Pink Champagne, Natural Beige and White Ice to the unusual Chocolate Brown. Unexpected nuances for the most demanding women, who have the opportunity to choose the one that best suits their skin tone.
Do you have a team of designers who assist you?
Our team is becoming increasingly large, and I love to be inspired and to exchange views with other creative minds. In particular, the entry of my son Riccardo as art director, and daughter Raffaella as product development manager into the company has contributed to an important evolution.
Thanks to their support I was able to transform an artisan business into an industry, without betraying the original motivation, which remains rigorously manual and creative.
Florence has played a huge role in inspiring you as an artist. What exactly are the three things that often recur in your themes?
Florence is an open-air museum at every corner it amazes one with masterpieces of the great artists of the past. I feel thankful to be born in a city, which is the birthplace of Renaissance. It has been an inexhaustible source of inspiration for my work. Nature is another important ally of my creativity: the wavy movements of the sea, the soft roundness of the sand’s dunes, the perfect shapes of a flower…this is something that really sets my imagination in motion and which I always try to capture my works.
How many boutiques do you have across the globe?
Our Flagship store is in Florence, and it’s located right in the heart of art and beauty, in front of the city’s symbol par excellence, Palazzo Vecchio. Our products are distributed worldwide thanks to a network of authorised dealers.
What is a day in the life of Annamaria?
I love to surround myself with beauty, to walk in the nature and observe its perfect shapes and colours, which then I try to reproduce and reinterpret in my paintings, sculptures, and jewels.