Discovered at the world’s watch and jewellery show Baselworld in 2016, Alessio Boschi is probably one of the geniuses of today’s fine jewellery scene. Like a b interviewed him for the 100th edition of the event.
Creative, constructive, ingenious, this Italian all-round artist, fond of history and architecture, gives to his world a universal magic guided by a superior force. His collections are perfectionist, meticulous, full of humour and surprises. In a word, he’s a genius! Everything makes sense in his jewellery, from the choice of materials and stones to the use of different techniques and Artcrafts such as micro-mosaic. His creations are collector’s items. A beautiful person and a wonderful artist you must absolutely discover.
You started your career as a jewellery designer at the age of 19: is it a vocation for you to become a jeweller?
Absolutely, jewellery is my life! It is a vocation that I discovered very young! I remember when I was 7 on a trip to Greece with my mother, she took me to the archaeological museum of Athens to discover the treasure of Philip II of Macedonia. I was so amazed that I could not take my eyes off of these masterpieces, she had a hard time getting me out of the museum!
Do you remember your first creation?
My first creation was made during my studies at the “Academy of fashion and costume of Rome”. It was teamwork and our creations were then exhibited at the end of the year on the basis of an imposed theme: Amber. I presented a pair of earrings inspired by Jurassic motifs.
After the Historica collection, the Precious Journey collection is next to be showcased at Basel. The jewels are inspired by iconic Italian monuments: where does this interest for history and architecture come from?
I am not attracted solely by Italian architecture. It is not a question of being chauvinist, but I do feel blessed to come from a country that has 50% of the World Heritage and whose history is an extraordinary source of inspiration. I especially appreciate the Renaissance period for the richness of its works of art. I am fascinated by the know-how and dexterity of the artisans of the time. Architecture reflects the evolution of our societies and conceals an evocative power through collective memory.
You give pride of place to Venetian references, can you present an iconic piece of your collection?
True, Venice is a source of inspiration because it is unique by its constitution, history and architecture borrowed from Persian influence to which I am particularly sensitive.
My favourite piece is the gondola-shaped ring, with chains that move as if to remind us of the movement of the gondolas on water. It is exquisite and the ring would not be the same without these little chains that add the finishing touch.
The emblematic piece of this collection remains the ring I created on the theme of the Bridge of Sighs (Italian: Ponte dei Sospiri). Far from the romantic connotation it is given today, the history of this monument is in fact quite dramatic. I wanted to translate the despair of a Venetian woman coming to implore the clemency of her husband’s executioners with miniature characters that you can discover by opening the upper half of the ring. This piece reflects my own personality because it is baroque and Romanesque.
Each jewel tells a story, tell us about your collections Lucca and Verona:
Lucca is a beautiful city of Tuscany near which I grew up. For this ring, I wanted to reproduce identically the architecture of the old city originally built in a circular arc on the ruins of the ancient arena. I also drew inspiration from the pavilions of the amphitheatre for the motifs that decorate the base of the jewel. To stay close to reality, we used brown diamonds and sapphires for the roofs and hand brushed or polished black rhodium for the cobblestones. I have to say we used technology to create this piece, especially google earth to reproduce the city of Lucca as it is.
As I love to hide little surprises in my creations, by opening the top of the ring, you will find a necklace with the coat of arms of the ancient families of the city.
The Verona collection is inspired by the impossible love story between Romeo and Juliet, which took place in Verona. A year ago, I bought this exceptional yellow sapphire at the Bangkok International Fair. The flat form of the stone evokes a mirror or a window behind which takes place the dramatic scene of Juliette taking the poison. Inside the ring is a miniature case representing the tomb of the young lovers in which is hidden a small pendant made of micro mosaic. It is rectangular in shape and appears in a mechanical movement according to the Fabergé egg technique.
The micro-mosaic represents the two protagonists in Shakespeare’s story. On the back are the coat-of-arms of the rival families and on the sides are carved motifs recalling the famous balcony adorned with rubies. A second secret compartment houses a miniature statue of Romeo kneeling, a rose in his hand. The pendant transforms into a bracelet, adorned with a small heart pierced with an arrow to remind that love is stronger than anything!
This cocktail ring required ingenuity and dexterity, how do you work with your artisans?
I guess I am a kind of symphony director, in the same way that every part of an opera has its importance, I act as a conductor. I coordinate the different interventions of each artisan throughout the world and see to the respect of the proportions at each stage of the manufacture.
There are always surprises in your creations, like hidden treasures, do you like to be surprised yourself?
I love surprises and I am always profoundly touched when I see amazement in the eyes of people when they discover the different surprises hidden in my creations. I like making people happy.
What are your future projects?
After Baseworld, we are getting ready for a Trunkshow in Shenzhen before resuming the creative work. I do not yet have a very precise idea of my next collection but I am confident and my team is great in its support.
Thank you Alessio for this poetry, for your genius and for these wonderful hours spent in your company. It’s amazing how your rings are also pendants or bracelets, touching references to life, humour and pure bliss.
Once again BRAVO for winning the Aesthetic Award 2017 for the IJEDA (International Jewellery Excellence Design Award) and winning this beautiful sculpture by Wallace Chan.
Do not hesitate to spend some time on Alessio Boschi’s amazing website:
Interview by Paula Grineri