Castellani was inspired to pursue the ‘granulation’ technique, which was perfected by the Etruscans in the 9th to 4th centuries B.C. and made Italian jewelry of this period so unique. Castellani’s passion for excellence became close to an obsession and resulted in the revival of many ancient techniques which have become some of the greatest contributions to the history of Italian jewelry making.
Fortunato Pio was joined by his two sons, Alessandro and Augusto in the 1850’s, creating and marketing their Italian jewelry designs to local, international patrons, artists and educated tourists visiting Rome. By the 1860s, popular demand for their unique styles, prompted Alessandro Castellani to establish a workshop in Naples in addition to opening shops in London and Paris. The Italian jewelry of this family won widespread acclaim leading to international expositions in Florence, London, and Paris, ultimately becoming the design that every jeweler throughout Europe wanted to duplicate. The fame of Castellani’s designs reached America in 1876, at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, and the next year the much-praised Italian jewelry collection was on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The granulation technique used in creating Italian jewelry by the Castellani family and others are just one of many that every aspiring jeweler must learn. The incorporation of fine detailing and meticulous finishing are the foundation for the luxurious effect that is difficult to find in any other jewelry.
Beside the impact of history and tradition, the reputation of Italian jewelry is supported by its quality standards for silver and gold, which are amongst the highest in the world. The silver grade of “925” is not the only consideration taken into account. There is also an extreme amount of care given in the production of the alloy and through each step until the finished jewelry piece is completed. Whether the item is crafted by an individual jeweler or from a large jewelry company, silver Italian jewelry production is treated with passion and respect.