An ivory and turquoise ring, by Buccellati, circa 1965
The textured ring set with a cabochon turquoise on an ivory ground, signed Buccellati, ring size L
Mario Buccellati, born in 1881, was the founder of one of Italy's greatest jewellers and owed his fame to his textured gold jewellery and unique silver objects. Buccellati's handmade jewellery is immediately recognisable by the use of mixed metals and various techniques of engraving such as rigato (parallel lines cut onto the surface of metal to obtain a sheen effect), telato (texture, achieved by fine cross-hatched lines, which imitates linen surface), segrinato (engraving in every possible direction, overlapping textures), ornato (decoration, based on natural forms such as animals, leaves, flowers), modellato (the most delicate engraving technique, which consists of reproducing several designs chiselled in three dimensions on a minuscule scale, mainly used for decoration of the borders). His work was widely acclaimed at the 1920 Exposition in Madrid where his entire collection was sold. His loyal clients included the Royal Families of Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, and his friend Gabriele D'Annunzio, one of Italy's most famous poets. The latter, who admired Buccellati's Renaissance-inspired textured goldwork, spoke of him as the 'Prince of Goldsmiths'.