Starting from being one of the first female jewelers of the ’70s, Hedy Martinelli made her way to succsess, passing her passion for jewelry on to daughter and grand-daughter. Years of cultivating an authentic style based on intuitive design and interpretation, has led the brand to making one-of-a-kind pieces which need no signature. A piece of jewelry met Livia and Francesca at Hedy Martinelli’s shop in Rome to talk about their jewelry design, their sophisticated and open-minded clients and, of course, about Hedy – the founder and soul of the brand.
ApieceofJewelry: In 1975 the founder of the brand, your grandmother, opened a shop in Rome to sell art-deco jewelry and then started making it herself. What kind of pieces did she create?
Livia: That’s right. She opened her first jewelry shop in Rome in the neighborhood called Prati. In the beginning, she would just sell the jewelry, but then she started designing and making it herself. Her style was based on including pieces of vintage jewelry in a new piece, combining the past and the present. Nobody would do the same back then, she was unique. Grandma stood out not only because of her innovative approach, but also thanks to the fact of being a working woman in Italy in the ’70s. Moreover, she was managing what was a predominantly male business, which jewelry at that time.
APOJ: Why did she have this passion?
Francesca: She got it from her mother who had a jewelry shop as well.
APOJ: Who is the designer of Hedy Martinelli today?
Livia: All of us are. We work together. It’s not easy because we are from three different generations, but in the end, it becomes a balanced synergy and exchange of three different experiences and visions.
Francesca: My mother is the number one in our team, she has an outstanding taste and foresees trends with a sensible advance.
APOJ: In your jewelry, you use mesh a lot. This is not common. In fact, it’s rare. And you use this technique in all types of pieces: rings, bracelets, etc. How and why did you come up with this idea?
Livia: It’s been our peculiarity from the beginning, mesh as a part of a jewelry piece is our distinctive feature, and the reason why Hedy Martinelli became famous. Frankly, it’s been copied many times and now you can see a lot of jewelry with a net in the shop windows of many jewelry stores in Rome. We use only antique meshes and all of them are different.
APOJ: Studying your creations, I roughly divided them into three groups, three directions. The first ones are geometrical designs with a touch of art-deco. The second, of course, are pieces with mesh, and the last ones embody soft, I’d say, “organic” shapes.
Livia: This is how you categorize it, as any other person does. We don’t make collections, don’t give names to pieces. Each jewel appears as a fruit of a passing impression, thought, memory. A piece can be inspired by a dream that occurred last night. I’d say, it’s an emotional approach. We don’t follow any guidelines on purpose. Living in Rome helps to find inspiration, by the way. Also, we often travel, it’s another source of ideas.
APOJ: So your designs are not based on current trends?
Livia: Of course we study trends as any fashion house, just to stay updated. But our jewels are not trendy, not fashionable. We are looking for creating pieces which you buy once and can put on in one year and it still will be suitable. We’ve been following our instinctive feeling for years and, as a result, our pieces have become self-signed. In fact, we don’t even sign them.
APOJ: You experiment a lot with combining materials. Like pieces with lava with diamonds or a stunning resin necklace with diamonds and gold. You create pieces completely made of precious materials as well. Do your clients like these kinds of experiments?
Francesca: Our clients are women who already have everything. They already have Cartier clips, art-deco jewelry, pieces from the ’40s. They understand and appreciate the art of jewelry, classic jewelry, let’s say. And they are ready and curious to discover something new.
Livia: Our jewelry is definitely not for everybody, it requires a certain level of understanding and open-mindedness.
APOJ: Now I’m going to ask you a series of questions, please reply quickly, without thinking much. Your favorite jewelry designer?
Livia: Susanne Belperron. JAR.
Francesca: The same
APOJ: Favorite gem?
APOJ: Favorite drink?
Livia: Extremely cold, iced white wine. Italian, from the north.
Francesca: Very sparkling water and cold white wine as well
APOJ: Sea or mountains?
Livia: Mountains. We like the Dolomites as we are a family of skiers. I adore going to the mountains in the summer, too. It gives me a feeling of freedom.
Francesca: I love both. But in particular the sea of a certain kind – not a crowded beach, something more savage.
APOJ: Favorite destination for holidays?
Livia: The United States! We always go to California, I’m in love with it. There are still many places I haven’t been to yet, but I’d like to. The center of the USA, the real America, not New York or Miami.
Francesca: I’ve been traveling to the United States since my childhood, it’s like a second home to me. I’d love to have a house by the sea in Malibu.
Photo credits: hedymartinelli.com