• Francesca Chelli

From Fire to Jewelry


I was invited by UNOAERRE to Arezzo, an enchanting Tuscan city where the jewelery has ancient origins thanks to the art of smelting, a fundamental process in the processing of jewels. Already in the fourteenth century after Christ the city of Arezzo guaranteed the purity of precious metals, defending its local product from the Sienese and Florentine competition and in this part of Tuscany, since the times of the Etruscans and the Renaissance, the creation of precious pieces was intense, among medals, brooches, pendants and rings, decorated with enamels, stones, inlays. The "Made in Italy" was already produced in the Arezzo workshops with tapestries, stained glass windows, drawings, engravings, ivory and corals. The goldsmith's art soon became a major art, deeply tied to sculpture and painting of the time and equated to them.

UNOAERRE was born upon these premises, an Italian excellence whose history began in 1926 thanks to Leopoldo Gori and Carlo Zucchi who combined their goldsmith and trade skills with the ability to give a modern productive configuration to the tradition.

But let's start from the beginning. Everything comes from the precious raw materials, wisely mixed to create different alloys, gold or silver.

Raw materials are melted through a process operated with industrial archeology machines by Mr. Franco. With the heat reaching temperatures of over a thousand degrees, oxygen is removed from the various alloys and an incandescent smelting is obtained, whose vision almost hypnotizes for the primordial attraction and the fascination that the fire gives off.

The smelting solidifies into a bar which, once cooled, is subjected to a series of checks on the alloy composition by the technical laboratory and then reduced

on tapes or threads that will be inserted into other ovens to become workable.

After countless steps and endless checks, carried out through technologically sophisticated machines and a large part of human intervention, we get to the different finished products: necklaces built through the handcrafted weaving of numerous and infinitesimal small parts, bracelets with a thousand forges, earrings, rings -

UNOAERRE is the world leader in the production of wedding and anniversary wedding rings, in yellow, white, smooth gold or with marvelous diamonds,

here in the hands of Mrs. Federica. Patience, precision and above all the pride of the staff involved in the various moments of productive activities is exciting. For those like me who love jewelry, seeing with how much love Mrs. Mara polishes a hoop earring and is pleased with it, it's really the proof that behind an aesthetically beautiful object, often linked to important moments of life, there is a person who with the love for what she's doing transmit a little of it to the object itself.

It is the principle upon which the handcraft working has always been based.

There is a room that is full of small and big drawers, and in each of them there are myriads of rings, chains, earrings, gold bars of various weights ...

...ready to be shipped in eighty-five countries around the world, where the name UNOAERRE is very well known and whose etymology, I explain to you in case you didn't know, comes from having been the first company in the territory to be registered in 1935 at the Provincial Metric Office with the 1AR State mark for the mandatory application of the recognition stamp for precious metals....

UNOAERRE over time has linked its expertise and originality to names of important people in the world of art, cinema and culture, and whose collaborations have given birth to creations that have marked the history of jewelry, contextualizing each of them in their era, creations now exhibited in the Museo del Gioiello, inaugurated in 1988, which I had the pleasure of visiting, admiring, as an example, the extraordinary series of unique pieces of contemporary design born from the collaboration with Gio' Pomodoro,

Salvador Dalì, Pietro Cascella, Giacomo Manzù, Enzo Scatragli, just to name a few.

It is really impressive how, through an object that could erroneously appear to be voluptuous, one can instead receive a precise picture of a country's history and about its troubles or most flourishing moments, of contaminations with other sectors and with other countries. The collection exhibited in the Museum covers the ninety years of the company's life, starting from the twenties with the garland style and going through the French Art Déco, to the fantasies of the forties and the fifties,

with jewels' shapes representing the rounded and soft ones of the Piaggio scooter or that through the chains and the tank bracelets, were inspired by the tracked tanks

or with charms attracting my attention, with a mine shape, to let people forgetting the war just ended.

Or the processing of French-style bracelets, with a subtle weave of threads enchanting the eyes.

In the 1960s the company began production and marketing of the love medal in Italy, a resounding success with over 18 million pieces sold. A pendant that symbolizes the purest bond between two people, a feeling of true love, "more than yesterday, less than tomorrow" means a growing love, an important declaration to always be witnessed to the beloved ones and that through this symbol acquires a even more valuable and heartfelt value.

In my opinion, the ability to combine various different elements is the secret of the success and uniqueness of this iconic company. The tradition, the mastery and the highest technical skills, the passion, pride and attention of everyone in each step, the love celebrated in various ways through the symbols of eternal union, wedding rings and important declarations such as the medal of love, the strong creativity, originality and elegance featuring each piece, the attention to the environment and the deep in-land roots, and finally being the symbol of an Italian excellence going through a part of troubled history too, from which being able to draw inspiration, strength, innovation.

I deeply love jewelry as an artistic expression, I appreciate the workmanship and the ability to make me feel emotion.

But in this case emotion is amplified, thanks to the thickness and the contents that I was able to deepen 'behind the scenes' and that make of UNOAERRE jewelery a symbol to be worn with the utmost respect towards everything it represents and can transmit. First of all, the celebration of an immortal mastery and style, which can be found also in the new collections linked to the world of fashion, in bronze and precious alloys, to once again affirm the innovation ability and the deep stylistic experience of this company.

I Thank

Eng. Antonio Moretti for the exhaustive explanations of the laborious production processes

Museum Curator Giuliano Centrodi for the fascinating tales of the precious ninety years of Unoaerre

Dr. Alessandro Bruni and Dr. Alice Giani for the organization

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