Nicolas Bos

The Museo del Gioiello, the first European museum dedicated to jewelry which opened in December 2014 in Vicenza, a hub of fine jewelry-making in northeastern Italy, inaugurated its second biannual temporary exhibition on Friday.

The museum was designed by Spanish architect Patricia Urquiola and occupies a 4,306-square-foot space inside Vicenza’s impressive Basilica Palladiana, which was designed by Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio and is listed among UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.

For the second exhibition, which counts about 400 jewelry pieces, Museo del Gioiello’s director Alba Cappellieri selected several prestigious personalities to curate the museum’s nine rooms dedicated to different themes, including Symbols, Magic, Function, Beauty, Art, Fashion, Design, Icons and the Future.

In particular, Glenn Adamson, former director of New York’s Museum of Arts and Design, took care of the room dedicated to jewels considered as symbols; Stefano Piaggi, the director of the Anna Piaggi Association, selected a range of pieces from the legendary fashion editor’s archive to show the link between fashion and jewelry. Van Cleef & Arpels president and chief executive officer Nicolas Bos curated the room dedicated to beauty.

“There are several international institutions showing and promoting jewelry, but the Museo del Gioiello is the only one totally dedicated to jewels,” said Bos, praising the fact that the museum considers jewelry from different angles and it offers a unique point of view with its thematic rooms. “It was very interesting for me to curate the room dedicated to beauty, not only because Van Cleef & Arpels celebrates beauty with its collections, but also because beauty is the essence of jewelry.”

Bos also explained that he concentrated on nature, “which is an expression of beauty and is a continuous source of inspiration for the jewelry industry.”

In particular, he said that he re-created a “precious garden” on the long table at the center of the room, where jewels from different ages “loose their aspect of accessories to become pure representations of natural elements, such as butterflies and flowers.”


Van Clef & Arpels Clip from 1947

A Van Clef & Arpels clip from 1947.  Courtesy Photo


The room he curated includes pieces from major houses, such as Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier, to independent jewelers, including Suzanne Belperron, David Webb, René Lalique and Daniel Brush.

“In only two years, the Museo del Gioiello was able to become a respected narrative hub of jewelry thanks trough its innovative approach and its sophisticated research,” said Matteo Marzotto, vice president of newly formed trade show operator Italian Exhibition Group. “During this months, the museum demonstrated to be an attractive destination for more than 34,000 visitors, most of them international. It was particularly appreciated for the quality of its exhibitions, the excellence of the showcased pieces, the unique exhibition path, which is enriched by temporary exhibits, as well as the innovative set conceived by architect Patricia Urquiola.”

The Museo del Gioiello realized a catalog of the second biannual exhibition which was published by Marsilio.