Damiani "A Century of Excellence and Passion" at Milan's Palazzo Reale

Damiani’s latest exhibition is set to open Wednesday at Milan’s Palazzo Reale.

Called “A Century of Excellence and Passion,” the exhibit, which runs through April 18, traces the evolution of Italian jewelry through some of the most iconic luxury pieces designed and manufactured by the Valenza, Italy-based company starting in the Twenties, when Enrico Grassi Damiani established the firm.

The exhibition, which follows the “Damiani, 90 Years of Excellence and Passion” retrospective unveiled at Florence’s Palazzo Pitti in June 2014, occupies Palazzo Reale’s Sale degli Arazzi, which used to be the private rooms of Italy’s royal family.

Damiani "Legend" Bracelet

Damiani “Legend” bracelet  Courtesy Photo

The first room highlights the luxury capsule collection made of 10 pieces, which Damiani unveiled in 2014 to mark its 90th anniversary. Each one pays homage to a specific decade. The Charleston necklace, which has a cascade of diamonds creating the shape of a feather, is dedicated to the Twenties, for instance. While Legend, a pink-gold, semi-rigid bracelet decorated with pavé diamonds, is the reproduction of a piece designed by the company’s founder in the Forties. The capsule also includes jewelry inspired by more recent collections, such as D.Side, an oval white-gold bracelet with diamonds that celebrates the namesake line co-designed by Damiani and Brad Pitt in the early 2000’s, and the Damianissima pendent, with one face in white diamonds and the other in black diamonds.

The second room showcases the 18 jewelry pieces that won the De Beers’ Diamonds International Awards over the years. And a new collection, called “Margherita,” is on display in the last room of the exhibit.

“The creation of the ‘Margherita’ collection follows the finding of a sketch by our grandfather Enrico, who, at only 15 years old, designed a jewelry piece he wanted to donate to Queen Margherita,” said Damiani vice president Silvia Damiani. “He was only a kid at that time, but a few years ago his dream became true because Damiani was named official jewelry supplier of the Italian royal family.”

Inspired by Queen Margherita’s name, which translates into “daisy,” the collection pays tribute to the simple yet beautiful flower, with necklaces, rings, pendants, earrings and bracelets all crafted in pink, yellow and white gold with diamonds, amethysts and quartz gemstones.

A necklace from Damiani "Margherita" collection

A necklace from Damiani “Margherita” collection  Courtesy Photo

“The daisy is a cheerful flower and, especially in these not-so-easy times, we wanted to bring fresh air and joy with a collection destined for international women,” said Damiani vice president and chief executive officer Giorgio Damiani.

During a press conference on Tuesday, Damiani president Guido Damiani highlighted the family’s intention to maintain control of the company, which last week tapped Laura Manelli as its new managing director. That executive’s aim is to consolidate Damiani’s positioning and to further expand its international presence, with a focus on the Asian market.

Damiani, which is publicly listed on the Milan Stock Exchange, operates 70 monobrand stores, and its collections are sold at more than 500 jewelry boutiques around the world. In addition to its own namesake label, the company has invested in jewelry firms Salvini, Rocca, Calderoni and Pomellato, which is now controlled by Kering.

Last year, the Damiani family acquired a majority stake in the Venini company, known for its colorful and artistic glass designs, and a leading firm in Murano, the glass production hub in Venice’s lagoon. The acquisition, whose financial terms were not disclosed, was part of the Damiani’s strategy to invest in and develop historic luxury brands.

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