A CHAT WITH MARIA CRISTINA BUCCELLATI
Maria Cristina Buccellati is strikingly elegant, standing out in a red outfit at the Buccellati boutique inside Aïshti in Downtown Beirut.
Radiant and soft-spoken, the jewelry brand’s communications director explains that she grew up with gems and precious stones, developing a passion for her work at an early age. She takes pride in the fact that the house remains one of the few businesses employing the same tools it has for decades, with artisans whose techniques have been passed down through generations, resulting in what she calls “timeless” pieces.
“When we say it’s Buccellati, it’s always the same. You know that if you buy it now, it won’t go out of fashion after two years. You can wear it all your life,” she says.
The jewelry is both Renaissance-inspired and modern, moving with the times but retaining its spirit, with recent pieces becoming more geometric and fluid. The new collection is focused on creating extensions of the old ones, and it’s this business model that’s made the house so ubiquitous. But with more boutiques opening worldwide, it’s now more challenging to create more products, so the house established a goldsmith’s school five years ago to train artisans, many of whose fathers or grandfathers were artisans at the jewelry house. Buccellati considers them to be artists because of the intricate and delicate workmanship it takes to produce each piece, which inevitably becomes unique in its own way.
“All the engravings that you see, each single line is made by hand. And sometimes, in some products like the Honeycomb Ring, you recognize from the style of the hole which artisan made it, because it’s kind of a signature,” she says.
Aïshti by the Sea, Ground Floor, Antelias, T. 04 717 716 ext. 353
Aïshti Downtown, Ground Floor, T. 01 99 11 11 ext. 104