A long time ago, someone wrote you have value when “you know how to pile up your whole fortune and risk it on a single launch-and-toss”.
Some people have done this not once but several times. The story of Ippolita Rostagno, jewelry designer born in Florence and now a celebrity in the United States, is exemplary in this sense. At eighteen she left Tuscany to go to New York with a dream: to create beauty in the form of jewelry. Her talent has paid off.
In a few years, starting with simple bracelets, she became increasingly successful and ranked among the most prestigious brands in the States. Stars such as Uma Thurman and Cameron Diaz are her leading testimonials, wearing the marvels signed by “Ippolita”. The first pile paid off, in short; any other person would stop, enjoying fame and business. She did not. Because she noted that things are getting worse in the place where she was born, and where she feels grateful for the sense of beauty.
In Tuscany, and a bit throughout Italy, shops are closing their shutters and craftsmen face extinction. So she started touring around the peninsula, on a route between the Grand Tour and the sabbatical year, and discovered a world full of niches. A reserve of exceptional talents, from goldsmiths to furniture, from pottery to glass art. And she decides: there must be a way to help the excellence of Made in Italy. But not in words.
She makes ready another pile and opens Artemest.com, a latest generation, refined e-commerce site for luxury objects made in Italy. The purpose is to match up: so, from June 24, or when the portal is online, “the lady from Dallas looking for a hand-carved frame can discover that there is a craftsman in Florence who makes very beautiful ones.” Another life can start again, and the stars can wait a bit. A millennial school of beauty needs to be rescued.
Congratulations on the Artemest idea. How does it work?
We offer extraordinary objects made exclusively in Italy, presented with carefully prepared content, from videos that tell the story of their creators and a magazine on the ‘beautiful’ and about Italy which is updated weekly with new articles. Our customers then buy the works made in the best workshops. A complete and high end offering, from iconic pieces like the Chiavarine dei Fratelli Levaggi to more accessible products like our diaries in marbled paper made from ancient bookbinding factories in Naples and Florence.
It is already yielding tangible results?
Yes, we already have the first orders, especially from abroad, the United States to start with. It is not an unexpected result: not only does the US account for nearly 60% of the online market for luxury goods, but also outside Italy, it is easier to appreciate the uniqueness of Made in Italy.
Has “Ippolita” jewelry production started again? With which new items Perhaps inspired by the experiences gathered from meeting the craftsmen.
The “Ippolita” jewels have always reflected my love for craftsmanship and sculpture studies. Undoubtedly, however, after a year spent exploring the oldest workshops in Italy, I have collected many inspirations to enrich my future collections.
When, in your life, did you realize that what you were making would be so successful and be to the liking of connoisseurs and aesthetes?
Designing and making jewelry inevitably means doing business, so as in any business you know you are doing well when you start selling. It is clear that to be successful you must have a very clear upstream idea and identity, which transcends the frantic and constant changes in the jewelry world.
You mentioned that you make valuables for independent women. Articles to buy for themselves, rather than to gift.
Certainly, I always try to make jewelry to be worn on all occasions despite being high end, accessories that make a woman feel at ease and which will be chosen and bought by the women themselves.