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Unearthing a hidden gem
By Yang Di

POMELLATO might be overshadowed by Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels in China, but the Italian maison is slowly spreading its beautiful, sensual and unconventional spirit among local women.

Creativity and research, coherence with house style and a brand strategy have always been the guiding principles at Pomellato. Founded in 1967, when Pino Rabolini, who came from a long family tradition of jewelry making, decided to make a mark in the industry, the Milanese brand has become a paradigm for jewelry in Italy and beyond for more than 40 years.

With traditional Italian craftsmanship, the jewelry style is versatile under the creative direction by Sergio Silvestris. Instead of producing occasional and formal pieces, Pomellato's aim has been to create unique, high-end and fashionable works of art suitable to be worn for every occasion. Its beautiful pieces are not designed to be kept locked up in safes but to be worn day and evening.

Pomellato jewelry pieces are worn by trendsetters and international celebrities renowned for being strong characters, such as Madonna, Kate Moss, Oprah Winfrey, Isabella Rossellini, Cameron Diaz, Monica Bellucci and Tilda Swinton.

Sergio Silvestris, creative director of Pomellato, shared his thoughts and ideas on this well-kept Italian secret.

Q:  You were not a designer when you first joined the company in 1980. What brought you into the world of jewelry design?

A: I first joined Pomellato as a young advertising manager, and my outlook on the future was not very clear. I started off with advertising, with an extraordinary campaign by Helmut Newton.

Q: Although without any formal training in jewelry making and designing, you have become extremely successful in this industry. How was this?

A: Pomellato is where I honed my skills, driven by the curiosity that has accompanied me over the years. For a full five years I worked shoulder to shoulder with brand founder, Pino Rabolini, endeavoring to understand the personality of the company. Then one day, out of the blue, I was assigned the task of creating a collection.

At first I was scared, but then I have always loved challenges. The fact that I was new to the jewelry-making world had its advantages, I believe. It allowed me to tackle the job without any "bad habits." And then, my experience as a communicator led me to create strongly evocative jewels, like the Orsetto, a symbol of tenderness and childhood.

Q: Are there any jewelry artists who have had a profound impact on your work?

A: From a formal standpoint, the legendary Fulco di Verdura, who created unforgettable jewels for Chanel, and JAR, the creator of unparalleled unique pieces. But I discovered them many years after my debut.

Q: Pomellato takes a modern approach to its fine jewelry, highlighted by soft and sensual forms, and we love its unconventional Italian chic. Can you comment on your own aesthetics and design style, your inspirations and concepts?

A: Like every expression of the human spirit, jewels say something about the person who creates them. My life, my loves, my travels and the books I read provide my inspiration. All grafted onto a very strong Pomellato DNA.

Q: In design, what comes first, material or style?

A: A material is chosen because of its ability to express a style: they are two closely connected aspects.

Q: Tilda Swinton has come on board as the "face" of the 2012 campaign. Can you talk about the collaboration?

A: Tilda is stylish and light-hearted - culture, beauty and fascination - without ever being conventional. She is unique, like Pomellato. During these three advertising campaigns we have become friends, and make all the choices together. We met again recently for the shooting of the coming campaign, and I'm sure it will be another unpredictable and thrilling experience.

Q: Some call Pomellato a well-kept Italian secret. Can you explain this?

A: We've been just a bit timid in facing the global market. We needed the initial reassurance of a strong success on the Italian market. Now we feel ready, and the results are proving us right.

Q: There are quite a few iconic collections from Pomellato, such as Schiava and Nudo. Which is your favorite? And why?

A: I love them all, but Nudo, despite its apparent simplicity, embodies an incredible set of innovative solutions. And its name has emotional appeal.

Q: The Pom Pom collection breaks the rules of traditional fine jewelry. Do you think it reflects the very essence of the brand? And if so, why?

A: Pom Pom is for a smart, witty woman who doesn't want to be banal, even for the most important evenings. But the same woman chooses to wear Nudo during the day.

A-Isabella Rossellini poses for a Plmellato campaign.

B-Tilda Swinton is the current face fo the Italian brand.

C-Monica Bellucci in a photo shoot for the Milan jewelry house.

D-Pop star Patty Pravo models Pomellato.

E-Sergio Selvestris

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