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The Vicenza Jewelry Museum: A New Permanent Collection Inside Basilica Palladiana

The new approach interpretations of jewelry make it one of a kind in the world.




(PRESS RELEASE) VICENZA – Vicenza’s Museo del Gioiello jewelry museum – a project promoted by Italian Exhibition Group Spa in partnership with Vicenza Municipality – is changing its entire collection.

310 exhibits and masterpieces belong to private collections that are not usually accessible to the public or to sector insiders. An original and unprecedented account of the history of jewelry through a “mixture of contemporaneity, suggestions from the past and projections into the future” and 9 international curators to interpret the extraordinary exhibition area located inside Basilica Palladiana.

The Museo del Gioiello is directed by Alba Cappellieri, professor of jewelry Design at Milan Polytechnic, not to mention Italy’s jewelry expert, and develops over an exhibition layout that offers a permanent collection, renewed every two years, together with a rotation of temporary exhibitions that provide a constant attraction due to the originality of their cultural content.

The third edition opens on 14th December 2018 and will be accessible to the public until the end of 2020.

On entering the exhibition, the visitor will be greeted by the ‘Flora High jewelry’ necklace by Bulgari. This item was selected by professor Cappellieri as the emblem of the third edition. “I have chosen this extraordinary item as a tribute to Italian manufacture and beauty. Bulgari was inspired by the paintings of Sandro Botticelli, whose eternal grace reverberates in this precious and delicate floral bouquet, and the splendid manufacture enhances Italian artisan workmanship.”

The new approach that the Museo del Gioiello offers interprets jewelry according to profoundly different values, aesthetics and content, making it one of a kind in the world. The exhibition itinerary winds through 9 rooms, each containing a different meaning of jewelry, in a gathering of content, eras, geographies and origins. jewelry defined as Symbol, Magic, Function, Beauty, Art, Fashion, Design, Icon and Future, each, in the new edition, entrusted to an international curator who has interpreted the meaning through beautiful and priceless items of jewelry.


Pascale Lepeu, director of the Cartier collection for over 30 years – selected the items for the Symbol Room where jewelry illustrates the symbolic power of ornaments. Symbols of power, wealth, religion, royalty, manufacture: the room offers a varied vision of jewelry and its many roles through time.

The Magic Room is entrusted to Cristina Boschetti – archaeologist and expert in artistic productions in the Hellenistic and Roman Mediterranean: protective amulets and talismans, jewelry with propitiatory powers to ward off evil influences. A variety of objects made of very different poor or precious materials, that allude to superior powers and timeless values. Going through the room is an intense and suggestive experience.

For the Function Room, Massimo Vidale – professor of Archaeology at Padua University – decided to focus on the communicative function of jewelry. From seals, the jewelry of warriors from different cultures, to the rings and pendants used by rappers, elements that help to build and transmit the identity of the person wearing them.

The Beauty Room contains an interpretation by Patrizia di Carrobio – a diamond expert in New York. In her opinion, jewelry transfers beauty to those who admire it. The theme is play with a fascinating blend of values where high and fashion jewelry intermingle.

Marie-José van den Hout – the Dutch gallery manager, founder of the Marzee, the world’s largest independent gallery – is in charge of the Art Room. The theme is gold and the story unravels through the experimentation processes of international artists who were not afraid to take creativity and experimentation to the limit, achieving surprising results.

In the Fashion Room, curated by Chichi Meroni, creative soul of the Arabesque Cult Store in Milan – an important wunderkammer of costume jewelry, fashion and mid-century design – the visitor is taken on a journey in which, letting himself be carried by the jewelry created for fashion between the 20’s and 80’s, will touch nine “islands” in the history of “bijoux de couture” and its link with the seven major arts that in this room are finally welcoming also fashion and design.


Alba Cappellieri herself is the curator of the Design Room. Her selection is dedicated to “designers without design”, in other words, to those designers that have never explored any other product than jewelry.  It is an interpretation that takes jewelry designers, who are also artisans and authors, back into the design hive that has ignored them for too long and shows us the permeability and transverse nature of jewelry design.

The Icon Room is under the curatorship of Gabriele and Emanuele Pennisi, jewelers and antique dealers from Milan, who specialize in antique jewelry. This selection dedicated to Europe contains masterpieces from the past dating from the 17th to the 20th centuries, icons of their times: from the extraordinary mountings of the 1800s to the exquisite workmanship of jewels in enamel and from seals to portraits of famous people.

The last room, devoted to the Future, is the responsibility of international fashion designer, Olga Noronha. Her opinions of jewelry in the future include various and multi-disciplinary perspectives. It is a preview of the future: from digital jewelry that modifies the body to invisible jewelry grafted under the skin, to therapeutic items and home-made jewelry that can be self-produced.

“The Museo del Gioiello is the first in Italy and one of only a few museums around the world exclusively dedicated to jewelry,” said Marco Carniello, director of Italian Exhibition Group’s  jewelry and Fashion Division. “It is unique and we are proud because it contributes to making Vicenza the global “heart” of jewelry. Italian jewelry art draws value from its origins and we see it as our duty to preserve it, safeguard it and make it available in order to spread culture everywhere.”



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