Some of Silvia Damiani’s fondest memories involve jewelry. “I remember a brooch in the shape of a jumping horse I saw as a child,” she says. “It was platinum, with baguette diamonds and cabochon emeralds. I love it; I would ‘visit’ it when I came home from school, when my parents were working.”
Family and jewelry are the interconnected themes of the Damiani story. The 85-year-old company is run by the third generation of Damianis: Guido Damiani, the eldest son, is president and CEO; younger brother Giorgio is vice president, and Silvia Damiani directs the company’s image around the world. Their mother, Gabriella Damiani, is still active with the company as its honorary president. Together, they maintain not just a proud family tradition, but one of Italy’s most visible companies, the largest luxury group in the world dedicated exclusively to jewelry.
Based in Valenza, Italy, one of the centers of Italian jewelry design and manufacturing, Damiani creates exquisite, handcrafted jewelry that has won all 21 of the jewelry industry’s top awards, including the Diamonds International prize, considered the “Oscar of jewelry,” an unprecedented 17 times. The Damiani look is young, hip and stylish, with pieces that can be worn every day as well as on the red carpet.
Diamonds are the core of Damiani designs: White metal and diamonds are their trademark. “Diamonds are right for today’s woman,” says Damiani. “They are easy to coordinate with other stones, and with her clothes.”
All of Damiani’s jewelry begins with a simple, ergonomic idea: It must feel wonderful when worn. It is highly engineered for wearability. “All of our jewelry is rounded,” she asserts. “My father always said, “Women do not have sharp edges.’”
Silvia Damiani loves fashion, and she plays close attention to its unpredictable trends. She has collaborated with some of the most innovative talents in international fashion. “Last year,” she recalls, “We started a collection with Jil Sander, the minimalist designer. His clothes look like sculpture, so they go very well with our jewelry.” Damiani has also recently closed a deal with Ferrari to make leather goods and accessories for the iconic Italian company.
Damiani already has a substantial male fan base. Actors Ed Norton, Steve Carell, and Oscar-winner Phillip Seymour Hoffman are all customers for Damiani shirt studs, cufflinks, rings and watches. The Damiani men’s collection features a satin-finished gold that resembles stainless steel and has an edgy masculine appeal.
The company also has a years-long relationship with Brad Pitt, which began when Pitt admired a pair of earrings, an award-winning design of Silvia Damiani’s, and contacted the firm with an important commission: work with him to design the rings for his wedding to Jennifer Aniston. The creative partnership was more successful than the marriage: Brad Pitt now designs a popular jewelry collection for both men and women at Damiani, including a lariat necklace, pendants and unisex rings.
Female celebs seen wearing Damiani recently include Penelope Cruz, Sophia Lauren, and Tilda Swinton, who wore a Damiani bracelet when she won her Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Pictured: Supermodel Marisa Miller wearing Damiani’s $3-million Harlequin Fantasy Bra, created for Victoria’s Secret and embellished with 2,355 white and cognac diamonds.