Italy is a country rich in artisans. From the Renaissance to modern times , Italy has always been home for creative people. When it comes to small art crafts business this is where you see excellence. In Italy, local artisans have the ability to retain their heritage, their roots, and they are able to fight ( not without difficulties and through great effort) the inevitable globalization and the movement towards mass-produced cheaper goods. Luckily this proud army of creative minds and hands still exists. You might have to look for it, often hidden in tiny workshops in small towns across the boot, and that’s what we love to do!
Looking for talents, we came across “Alda Funghini Jewels” . In the beautiful town of Cortona , the Ghezzi- Fierli family business has grown through three generations and today it’s still deeply-rooted in the traditions of fine jewelry making. We could say that this business has its foundation on Love : for a profession as well as for the family tradition, and, of course, love between Lucia an Alessandro who met around the ‘90s. Both coming from goldsmith families, they fell in love, sharing the same interest for this creative profession. They dreamt of creating a family, together with a long lasting work project. As a tribute to Alessandro’s grandmother Alda, the true inspirational figure for the jewels design, they decided to use her name for their activity. Right now there are two Alda Funghini stores : the first, the original one, in Cortona ( in the hearth of the old town) the second, recently opened, within the walls of charming Montepulciano.
Today meet Lucia Fierli, a Jewelry Artisan born and bred in beautiful Cortona ; Lucia and her husband showed us how the techniques, their laboratory, their creations. It was magic! We asked her a few questions about her work, read our interview below.
- Lucia, Why did you choose to do this work? – Come hai scelto questa professione? Come è iniziato tutto?
I have been familiar with this world since I was a child. When I was very young I used to watch my parents their workshop, transforming shiny metals in beautiful jewels. I was mesmerized .
Ho sempre conosciuto in questo mondo da quando ero piccola e vedevo i miei genitori che nel laboratorio trasformavano quei metalli scintillanti in gioielli. Ne ero incantata.
- Is there any particular technique or material that makes your products recognizable to everyone? – Ci sono delle lavorazioni o dei materiali che sono caratteristiche dei vostri gioielli?
Our production is mainly based on the use of pure silver to create jewels according to Tuscan tradition, which is particularly strong in this area , and we add a modern twist to it.
La nostra produzione utilizza prevalentemente argento di alta qualità per creare gioielli che si rifanno alla tradizione orafa toscana della nostra zona, qui particolarmente forte, a ma con un tocco di modernità.
- Can you tell me how you design a job, where do you start?- Come inizia il tuo lavoro, da cosa parti?
The starting point is the jewel design and the choice of materials…Every time it’s different. However, I must say that I always start from selecting and choosing precious stones, gems . They are my passion, the jewel creation goes together with a special stone I might find and this will inspire a new design and the final product.
Si comincia dal disegno del gioiello, la scelta dei materiali…Non è mai la stessa cosa. Quello da cui parto molto spesso però sono le pietre, che adoro e conosco molto bene. Le pietre sono spesso la mia ispirazione per la costruzione poi del gioiello finale.
- How long does each one of your creations take? – Quanto tempo occorre per portare a termine un gioiello?
It depends on the type of jewel of course. It might take a few hours or several days
Naturalmente dipende dal tipo di gioiello. Può richiedere alcune ore o alcuni giorni
- What are some of the difficulties you face in your work?- Quali sono le difficoltà del tuo lavoro?
Every new jewel is a challenge. Silver really is a lively material and every time it “responds” differently to work
Ogni gioiello è una sfida perchè comunque l’argento è un materiale vivo che non reagisce mai allo stesso modo
- How do your clients react to your painstaking work? Do you feel they appreciate the craft? – Creare un gioiello è un processo lungo, I tuoi clienti capiscono l importanza ed il valore del tuo lavoro? Ti danno soddisfazione?
I am lucky; people coming to our shop and whoever decides to buy artisanal jewels understand all the work and the study there is behind each piece. It is very rewarding especially when we create personalized jewels
Sono fortunata; le persone che acquistano un gioiello artigianale capiscono anche il grande studio e lavoro che c’è dietro ogni pezzo. Questo dà molta soddisfazione , specialmente quando si creano gioielli personalizzati
To visit “Alda Funghini” shops with a special workshop arranged especially for you maybe with a flute of Prosecco or for a demonstration coupled with wine tasting followed by dinner in a beautiful typical restaurant, or to have your own personalized jewel made under your eyes, contact Chiara’sTuscany .