Every goldsmith has a creative heart and some have a real passion for brushes and oils. But the days of Leonardo and Cellini are over. Creating jewelry has become a career and for goldsmiths, painting or sculpting is just a hobby. But not for everyone: Annamaria Cammilli thinks that art is a reason to live and this feeling has been with her since high school.
The Florentine painter and sculptress debuted in 1977 by opening a shop near Ponte Vecchio. After the success of her first creations in gold, in 1983 Annamaria founded the company that bears her name. Her reputation precedes her and in the 80s she is remembered for her success in Japan, where her floral style is appreciated. In 2002 her son Riccardo Renai joins the company and the label begins a new era. Linked to the floral theme, Annamaria extends her source of inspiration to the world of nature. Her artistic flair evolves over a long period of strong growth and even in 2013, when Italy was suffering from the recession, global sales increased by 6 percent. Renai figured out how to boost a brand that many considered ‘for ladies’, pleasing even the more glam crowd with a jewel ultimately suitable for all occasions.
Rationalizing production, always made in Italy, Renai continued to focus on the peculiar color of 18 karat gold, beige, pink, orange, bamboo yellow, that transformed the Annamaria Cammilli brand along with its way of combining classic themes with romantic atmospheres. The Florentine artist works side by side with her daughter Raffaella who along with a team of designers transforms ideas into products without sacrificing artistic worth. Almost 80 percent of their jewelry is sold abroad, where the brand also has some solo labels. But their real pride and joy is the boutique opened last year in Florence, right across from the Old Bridge.
Nature, Art, Fashion
Jewelry inspired by nature is a longstanding tradition. Was there someone who inspired you initially?
In the past we followed Art Nouveau, Baroque … truth is we try not to look at the great jewelers of the past too much, we like to flip through fashion magazines or go to shows. A lot of my ideas come while painting.
I thought Japanese art was also a great passion of yours.
Actually I adore Japan and Ikebana. I found myself jumping onto the first flight for Tokyo to take part in the cherry festival, a totally normal event for them.
Is is true that you transformed your residence into an art studio?
Not entirely true …. since the house is pretty big, there is plenty of space to use in a variety of ways and I had no doubt: I made studios for painting, sculpting, and a showroom.
Are you able to express your creativity despite the company’s turning towards a market philosophy?
It was a necessary change to avoid being left with a customer base that was too elitist. However, that program’s development did not interfere with my work, it actually widened my horizons, now instead of just flowers I am inspired by other forms of nature like leaves, exotic branches, rocks …
A selection defined by four themes.
This is to help customers and retailers become familiar with our world. The four themes are elements of Nature: earth, flora, sky, water which identify with the four creative concepts: Essential, Flowers, Color Stone and Vision. The seven Vision collections are an expression of water motifs such as a drop, an oyster, or marine rocks. I interpret all themes my way, not just a reproduction of reality.
The opaque finish, the colors of gold, are like your signature on jewelry …
It is important to contrast opaque with polished so when combined with relief forms, volume is visible in a way we have been working on a lot. Some collections like Begonia and Calla display a remarkable matt & deep effect.
Is it true that you do not use computers for modelling?
True. A modeller who works with wax transforms all my ideas into concrete objects.
Your brand is a perfect example of integration between the first and second generations …
To tell you truthfully, when I think about the fact that my son Agostino Renai has an ancestor who used to work on the tower clock of The Old Palace when Florence was the capitol of Italy …