Jewelry designer Antonia Miletto Gioielli combines precious and non-precious stones, gold, rare woods, and precious metals into artfully crafted, one-of-a-kind pieces that are at once organic and highly refined. For the past 30 years, Antonia has split her time between New York City and Venice, Italy, where her orange jewel box store beckons a global clientele of collectors and style seekers.
As long time fans of Antonia’s work, Lee and Mariana appreciate her distinctive eye and singular, powerful aesthetic.
“I love the sculptural quality of Antonia’s work,” says Lee. “The pairings of materials and colors are often unexpected. The materials are elemental and strong, but with a softness I love.”
Adds Mariana: “Antonia has a specific way of working with an array of elements and putting them together in a way that is timeless and unique. Few designers can work wood the way she does it. The way she mixes poor and rich elements is so moving.”
Here, Antonia tells us about her inspirations, creative process, and why she’s excited to work with DomusAurea.
In 10 words or less, how would you describe your work?
Simultaneously contemporary and classic.
You split time between New York City and Venice. How has each city influenced your designs and your business?
Venice and New York are both very special places. Spending time in each city involves a constant critical reflection on beauty, culture, and nature. Also these two cities are central to the world; in both Venice and New York you have unlimited opportunities to meet the most interesting people. For me that means having the chance to expose my work to them.
Favorite local haunt in each city.
In Venice my favorite restaurant is Harry’s Bar. Dinner on Friday night is a classic among the locals—same table, same group of friends. The food offerings in New York are endless, but I stick to the classics. Le Bernardin is my place
How do most of your clients come across you and your work, and what are they looking for as buyers and collectors of jewelry?
I belong to the world-of-mouth generation. This is how over the years I have built my long-lasting clientele—ladies with strong personalities who are willing to wear pieces of jewelry of understated elegance.
You have been in business for 30 years! What has remained the same over that time period? What is most strikingly different?
So many things have changed in the last 30 years. What hasn’t changed at all is the passion for beautiful objects like a piece of jewelry.
What are your favorite materials to work with?
My favorite materials are the hardest species of wood, like Ebony, Macassar, purpleheart and other exotic woods. Because they are extremely hard, they can be perfectly shaped and carved.
How do you collaborate with the artisans who craft your pieces?
I collaborate with different master artisans. Over the years we have grown up together—and not just professionally; they are my extended family. We know each other so well. I respect their talent and they follow and trust my imagination.
How did you connect with DomusAurea?
Ever since I first met Mariana Antinori, one of the minds behind DomusAurea, I have admired her pure enthusiasm and deep knowledge of the jewelry world. It has been impossible for me to resist her invitation to be here.
Tell us about a few of your favorite pieces that are available at DomusAurea.
DomusAurea will be showing some of my favorites pieces: The Marina bracelet has four hand-carved wood elements with gold links and the new Disk earrings are simple round wood discs with a gold dot in the middle or an emerald round pavé.
What else is inspiring you lately?
Last year I was offered a group of 28 pieces of early 20th Century French glass intaglios. They were absolutely unique with the most amazing colors and subjects. By surrounding them with ebony and diamonds, I developed a small collection of one-of-a-kind rings, earrings, and pendants. Now the pieces are all gone, but I discovered a passion for the art of glyptography.
From start to finish what is the process typically like when you design a piece?
My creative process varies a lot. It could start with a particular shape that sits in my mind or a glass intaglio that I found. I make a sketch and then I meet with the goldsmith and the wood maker to discuss it. Very often I like to see a sample made out of silver or copper or sometimes a wax mold. Generally, it takes six weeks to see a finished piece, and no matter what, for my eyes it’s always a surprise.Read More