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Discovering Roman Master Cazzaniga

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The hunt for the seldom seen is often as rewarding as beholding the rarity itself. For jewelry collectors, the field of endless vintage jewels, and the designers who dreamed them up, creates a challenging yet ever-enthralling setting for even the most experienced sleuths to spot a hidden gem. Known by those in the know, the masterful work of Angelo Giorgio Cazzaniga ranks high amongst the rarified and the coveted.

A 18k gold and enamel 'Rinascimento' necklace by Cazzaniga, circa 1971 (image courtesy of Robin Katz)

A 18k gold and enamel ‘Rinascimento’ necklace by Cazzaniga, circa 1971 (Image courtesy of Robin Katz)

Born in Rome in 1908, Angelo Giorgio Cazzaniga was surrounded by opulence from an early age. His father, Luigi Cazzaniga, managed the estate of Prince Abamelek Lasarev, a cousin of Tsar Nicholas II. The villa housed the Russian prince’s vast collection of art that would leave an indelible impression on the young Cazzaniga, an impression that edified his own artistic style.

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Angelo Giorgio Cazzaniga (image courtesy of Cazzaniga)

In 1929, Cazzaniga opened his first jewelry boutique in the heart of Rome, near the Trevi Fountain. Distinctive even today, his jewelry seamlessly fuses several stylistic periods into one harmonious piece of jewelry. Grecian and Roman art melds timelessly into references of the Baroque, Renaissance and Byzantine eras. The mixture of Byzantine opulence and Roman Baroque elegance exude a faintly Russian feel, a chance homage to his adolescent surroundings. Like the many layers of Rome underfoot that signify its epic history, the stratified decorative elements of Cazzaniga’s jewelry serve to enrich its overall beauty.

18k Gold, Diamond, Ruby and Enamel Openwork Pendant, by Cazzaniga, Mid-20th Century (image courtesy of Mahnaz Collection)

18k Gold, Diamond, Ruby and Enamel Openwork Pendant, by Cazzaniga, Mid-20th Century (Image courtesy of Mahnaz Collection)

His unique style, with it’s intricate hand-carved detailing and colorful enamel work, developed over time into his most recognizable and popular period, from the 1950’s to the 1970’s. The delicate, ornate nature of his jewelry reflects his mastery of goldsmith techniques and brilliance in design, rendering each unique piece a true treasure highly sought after by collectors today.

A multi-colored gold compact by Cazzaniga

A multi-colored gold compact by Cazzaniga

Coming up for auction in Heritage Auctions Jewels Signature auction on September 28th is one of Cazzaniga’s striking masterpieces: A Diamond, Ruby, Enamel, Gold Pendant-Necklace made in 1969. The bold design of rectangular links made of twisted gold with striking green enamel accents while suspending a pendant depicting a brimming potted plant is sure to catch the attention of many bidders next week.

Diamond, Ruby, Enamel, Gold Pendant-Necklace, Cazzaniga

Diamond, Ruby, Enamel, Gold Pendant-Necklace, Cazzaniga – The pendant features single-cut diamonds weighing a total of approximately 0.10 carat, enhanced by round-cut rubies weighing a total of approximately 0.10 carat, accented by enamel, set in 14k gold with 18k white gold accents, marked Cazzaniga. Gross weight 509.60 grams. Estimate: $15,000-20,000

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