This week on the #WORLDCHANGERS series, we speak to Carolina Bucci, founder and designer of Carolina Bucci, fine and elegant jewellery pieces meticulously designed, beautifully executed.
Current job: Jewellery Designer for Carolina Bucci
One word that best describes how you work: Always
My greatest success: Pursuing and sticking with my passion
My biggest fear: I am absolutely terrified of needles
My secret wish: That smartphones were never invented
My role model: Fulco di Verdura
My family have been manufacturing fine jewellery in Florence since 1885. I grew up visiting my father in the atelier right next to the Ponte Vecchio in the Goldsmiths’ quarter of Florence. Designing fine jewellery was all I ever wanted to do…
I left Florence to study jewellery design in NY. While I was studying at FIT I started to put together some ideas for what I thought contemporary fine jewellery could be. A piece here, a piece there. Nothing too coherent. One of those ideas was for a silk and gold-threaded bracelet that looked like a friendship bracelet and could be tied in the same way. Patricia Field who was the stylist for ‘Sex and the City’ saw that prototype and Sarah Jessica Parker wore one throughout the last series… after that, things just exploded.
All different ways – normally linked to some memory or emotion. Typically I have a sudden need to make a piece for myself and that design just appears fully formed in my head. It’s hard to explain what the process is because when I try to make it happen it normally doesn’t. If you sit me at a desk and say “design” I freeze. It’s why I could never work full time designing for anybody else.
Sitting with my father at the jewellery bench and asking question after question. When it came time for me to start designing he was my fiercest critic, (and when I wasn’t in earshot, my biggest supporter), and that taught me how to articulate and defend what I wanted to make. He didn’t make things easy for me, and that has stood me in good stead for all the challenges that followed.
That 10% of your efforts and output will make up 90% of your success. Accepting that allows you to move on when things are not clicking, and over the years you gain a sort of early radar for when you are moving in the right direction.
I think at its simplest fine jewellery is an endlessly recyclable category. If you don’t like your piece then you can melt it and start again. In all the talk of the luxury world, fine jewellery is a little different. It is at least thousands of years old and has carried value and prestige throughout. We have started to take serious steps towards certifying all of our gold purchasing as completely ethical. It is not a simple or quick process, but it is important to me that we are on the right path and improving year by year. We have also made huge changes over recent years to move our packaging production as close as possible to our point of use. There is no need today to be shipping boxes around the world chasing marginal cost improvements.
|1885 Links Sprezzatura Lucky bracelet||A heart pendant in Rainbow Pave|
Recently it has been difficult to work out what, if anything, we should be doing as a business in the midst of this global health emergency. I have wondered, and still do some days, if it is not best to just hibernate and wait for the storm to pass? But, fundamentally, that doesn’t suit my nature. Like many, I have tried to stay creative and positive and to use the strengths of what we do to bring help in some way to those affected. Since March 15th we have been donating 25% of all sales from our online business to the Coronavirus Emergency Fund at Careggi Hospital in Florence, my hometown. And, at the same time, to help soothe tired minds and keep little fingers busy we launched a set of pages on our website to be printed off at home and coloured in or folded into origami shapes.
Absolutely. In fact, I think true luxury is more likely to be sustainable than anything else. Luxury is handmade, by craftspeople that are skilled and well-paid. It considers its environmental footprint and chooses its materials and components carefully. I think the problem lies in the overuse of the word “luxury”- it has become somewhat meaningless.
To continue to grow the brand patiently and authentically building upon the firm foundations we have in Florence and the artisans that work for us there. We are looking now at opening a new store in the United States, and perhaps one in Italy. That and building out our online universe are the key areas for us in the next few years.
The one place that I am able to really forget about work is at our house in Upstate NY. It is in the middle of the woods, with terrible Internet and cell reception – I love the chance to switch off, practice yoga, and pick fruit from our trees. Simple pleasures but two weeks there leaves me energised and ready for any new challenges.
When I was starting my brand in 2002…. I should have bought a lot of gold when it was trading at around $300/oz.
Something that reminds them of an amazing time or person. That is what jewellery does best. It can capture that emotion in something beautiful and lasting.
You can follow Carolina Bucci at @carolina_bucci