Fifth-generation jeweller Raffaella Renai is continuing her family’s legacy of old-world craftsmanship by embracing modern innovations and designs. Raffaella, daughter of Annamaria Cammilli and head of the creative team at Annamaria Cammilli Firenze, was recently in Hong Kong to unveil the Florentine brand’s 2017 collection at masterpiece by King Fook. Raffaella sat down with JNA to talk about the inspiration behind the luxury jeweller’s latest creations and its extraordinary technical mastery of gold jewellery production.
JNA: What’s so exciting about Annamaria Cammilli’s latest product offering?
Raffaella Renai: The 2017 collection is characterised by sophisticated themes in simple, organic shapes often inspired by nature, showing off the new heights that Annamaria Cammilli’s special manufacturing technique has achieved. Light plays on the surface of gold, enhanced by diamonds and other precious and semi-precious stones. Colour is definitely the key element to our collections’ overall look, and is used in subtle and sophisticated ways that make the design stand out more rather than overpower it.
Our Texture Collection consists of pieces made of “woven” gold embellished with diamonds, coloured gemstones and pearls. We drew inspiration from the wide open sky although the pieces are not literal representation of the heavens. The rows of diamonds, for example, remind one of clouds and are symbolic of bonds or connections between people.
We have also expanded our Flowers Collection to include precious blossoms inspired by real flowers. Diamonds lined the edge of the petals for added sparkle.
The Vision Collection is inspired by shapes caused by water movement such as waves, ripples, dew drops and rain drops. Diamonds appear to float across the gold surface.
JNA: What is the most challenging aspect of your creative process?
Raffaella: I’d say we have developed an expertise in achieving that “shine and matte” gold finish that people only associate with Annamaria Cammilli – so much so that it has become the brand’s signature look. In a sea of jewels, you will instantly recognise an Annamaria Cammilli creation for sure.
The amount of work and effort that we put into each piece of gold jewellery is quite significant. Our collection is challenging to reproduce, especially since everything is done by hand. We make sure every item that leaves our workshop is perfectly executed the Annamaria Cammilli way.
JNA: The brand has always prided itself for its creative use of gold. What are your top gold hues?
Raffaella: We have seven gold colours specific to Annamaria Cammilli – Lemon Bamboo, Orange Apricot, Rosa Champagne, White Ice, Natural, Black and Warm Yellow. Lemon Bamboo is yellow gold with light green tones while Orange Apricot is warm and soft with orange gradations. We are the only brand that works with this type of gold. Rosa Champagne is delicate pink gold. White Ice is based on white gold, with its cool tones and matte finish. Natural is a glamorous shade of beige. Black is an enigmatic colour that makes a striking statement. The finishes and effects we use on this precious metal give our jewellery that personal touch unique to Annamaria Cammilli.
Our brand was founded more than 30 years ago but our goldsmithing tradition started five generations ago. All Cammilli products are made in Italy and our headquarters is located in Florence where our founder, Annamaria, was born. Our flagship store is just in front of Palazzo Vecchio in Piazza della Signoria in Firenze, the cradle of the Renaissance.
JNA: Annamaria Cammilli has managed to hold its own in a market dominated by major legacy brands. How did you do it?
Raffaella: Compared to those brands, we are small but important. We stand out because we are offering something different. Every piece of jewellery that we produce is consistent with the Annamaria Cammilli world. It’s a lifestyle that we have worked hard at creating – from our merchandising to our brand image.
My mother, Annamaria, is 75 and remains very active in the business. We discuss concepts and design ideas, and then we test those for wearability and saleability. It has to be on-trend and timeless at the same time. My brother, Ricardo, is the company CEO and he is extremely competitive. We have a very persevering spirit, and I believe it is this passion in what we do that has kept us relevant to this day.