A Buccellati silversmith working at the dedicated hub.

MILAN — Buccellati inaugurated on Monday a plant dedicated to its silverware line in Zola Predosa, on the outskirts of Bologna, Italy.

Covering 32,291 square feet, the industrial complex, which formerly housed a metalworking company, will employ 15 silversmiths developing Buccellati’s silver cutlery and objects.

The production site was relocated to Zola Predosa from a factory that Buccellati has owned in nearby Casalecchio di Reno since 1987 when the company, spearheaded by former chief executive officer Gino Buccellati, acquired the local silversmiths’ firm Clementi.

“The relocation of Buccellati’s storied Atelier for the production of silver objects is part of the wider development plan of the brand, which is historically recognized as one of the leader firms in silverware around the world,” noted Gianluca Brozzetti, the Italian jeweler’s chief executive officer. “The production of Buccellati’s silver objects is and will remain strictly Made in Italy,” he contended.

The new Buccellati plant in Zola Predosa, Italy dedicated to silverware.

The new Buccellati plant in Zola Predosa, Italy dedicated to silverware.  Courtesy Photo

The former manufacturing hub in Casalecchio di Reno will be dismissed to house an apartment complex and a public park. The Italian jewelry company cited difficulties in keeping a manufacturing plant in the city center as among the reasons for the relocation.

“We’re proud to pursue, with our prestigious brand, the artisanal heritage of silver objects and cutlery production which started more than 100 years ago in Bologna,” said the company’s honorary president and creative director Andrea Buccellati. “It will enable us to export to the most important international markets special items which are appreciated by our Italian, European, American and Asian customers,” he added.

The inauguration of the new production site falls amid rumors about Buccellati and its ownership. In October, WWD reported that, according to Milan-based sources, the Chinese government’s clampdown on foreign investments was affecting the development of some fashion brands, including Buccellati and that founding family members were frustrated over a lack of investment in the house by its current owner, Gansu Gangtai Group, which acquired 85 percent of the firm in 2017.

Market sources said last month that the Chinese group was seeking a co-investor to help further develop the brand. In an exclusive interview with WWD, Brozzetti declined to comment on the speculation but underscored the company expects to close 2018 with an uptick in sales — boosted by expansion in Asia — and is planning the celebrations to mark its 100th anniversary next year.

Gansu Gangtai Group paid 195 million euros to become Buccellati’s main stakeholder. The Buccellati family and private equity company Clessidra SGR retained a 15 percent stake.