"Gem hunter and jewelry maker."
Designer Nicolò Villa hails from a dynasty of Milanese jewelry artists and craftsmen that dates back to the late 1800s. And while Milano bequeathed to Nicolò a sense of sober elegance and passion for art, his formal training began in New York, where he graduated from the prestigious Gemological Institute of America.
Following a brief stint at an important auction house, “real life” came knocking on the door, which opened on 47th Street and Manhattan’s legendary Diamond District, the nerve center of the world’s diamond and jewelry trade.
Nicolò, as scion of the illustrious Villa family, whose historical boutique is still operating on Via Manzoni in Milano, was ushered into the heart and soul of the industry. He soon made contact with an endless cavalcade of gem cutters, goldsmiths, brokers, salesmen. And precious stones.
Nicolò then spent the next few years working at the family’s store in Milano, and it wouldn’t be long before he began experimenting with his own, singular vision of what jewelry should be. He yearned to create something that would stand out, flaunting a fresh and contemporary style, an expression of luxury yet essential.
This was the concept Nicolò developed for a new generation of customers, for whom jewelry embodies values different from those shared by their predecessors. The times made way for a new market – cosmopolitan and interconnected – where people reclaimed their longing and passion for jewelry, which they saw as an expression of their own personal identity. Jewelry that combines high-quality craftmanship with original esthetic. Jewelry as unique as the people who wear it.
Nicolò is a born experimenter, descendent of Benvenuto Villa, a late 19th-century jeweler, sculptor and alchemist, who, like all the great minds of his age, was fascinated by the nature of dreams. His was to create black gold.
Nicolò became engrossed in the transformation of substances, using a variety of techniques – such as the oxidation of copper, leatherlike iron thread braiding – rarely seen in classic jewelry. He also made use of out-of-the-ordinary materials. Gold, silver and platinum were out. Iron, copper, steel, titanium, wood and shards of meteorites were in.
The foundation was laid. Pieces would be wrought with contemporary flair and a modern, male-forayed pitch. Himself a product of generations of high-end jewelry makers and dealers, Nicolò Villa’s collection is awash with sapphires, diamonds, opals, spinels, topazes, tourmalines, emeralds and rubies that he selects himself on his trips around the world, true to his passion for gemology. It’s the story of a love that he tells through each and every one of his creations. The ancient stones aboard are all characters in stories that come from afar. Legends of emeralds and pharaohs, ruby-strewn epics in Burmese valleys, tales of velvet sapphires from exotic Kashmir.
A never-before-seen universe of designer jewelry, whose roots dig deep into the great jewelry-making tradition of Milano – always an innovative and cutting-edge scene. Yet with something more – an enfant terrible mystique. Piratelike. Definitely extroverted. At the same time, genteel and cultured.
As a designer, Nicolò Villa is a storyteller. He addresses anyone with the capacity to lend an ear to the true language of luxury, culture and authenticity, which is also exquisitely nonconformist, personal and custom-made.
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