For most young girls, their childhood memories of dress up involve brightly painted plastic baubles and Barbie. For Silvia Damiani, the first jewel she remembers was a lovely little, green horse made of diamonds and emeralds. “As a child, I would go to look at it every day, it was like my toy,” she recalls.
Italian-born Damiani comes from a family synonymous with some of the world’s most luxurious jewelry designs, so it was only natural that a passion for precious stones would pave a glittery future for the petite and poised woman who’s prestige one can’t help but admire.
The Damiani Group was founded in 1924 in a small Italian town named Valenza (near Turin), known around the world for the masterful jewelry craftsmanship found there. Starting with a small workshop, it didn’t take long for Damiani’s Grandfather, Enrico Grassi Damiani, to become the local jeweler to the most important local families. “Through hard work and dedication, the brand developed and grew,” Damiani explained, “My father, Damiano Grassi Damiani was a true visionary. [He] took over and expanded the company’s growth while maintaining its heritage and artisan tradition.” Today, Damiani and her brothers– the third generation of the Damiani family run their internationally known business with their mother as “Honorary President.”
In jewelry, the designer’s difficult task is not to respond to fashion but to be innovative, contemporary and classical at the same time.”
After recognizing the passion her parents shared for the company, Damiani decided to give the family business a shot. The summer before attending University, she immediately understood what influenced her parents’ love for their job.
“I do not know if we can call it our ‘secret to success,’ but at Damiani a passion for beautiful things, quality and excellence is common to every person working in the company, from the receptionist to the CEO,” said Damiani.
Although The Damiani Group is now a publicly held company (listed on the Milan Stock Exchange since 2007), it is still very much a family-run business. Damiani’s brother Guido is the President and CEO, while brother Giorgio is Vice-President and in charge of purchasing of raw materials and production. Silvia Damiani has come a long way since her first summer with the business, now the Vice-President, and Director of public relations for all of the Damiani Group’s brands (Damiani, Salvini, Alfieri & St. John and Bliss). By hiring internationally known celebrity spokes models such as Sharon Stone, Damiani has single handedly changed the brand’s image.
Proud of each jewel produced by the company, Damiani pieces are all a representation of three guiding principles: an accurate selection of precious stones, the finest hand craftsmanship and classic, yet innovative design. Notably, all suppliers of the Damiani Group are carefully selected and comply with UN resolutions regarding the certification of diamond origin and fulfillment of the Kimberley Process (for diamonds) with extreme attention to the legitimacy of sources.
By staying true to the ethics and design aesthetic of the brand, beauty can be found from every angle. One wedding band design features diamonds on the side of the band which Damiani explains is a precious detail, and a personal touch for the one who wears it.
“All of our customers are equally important for us. The fact that they favor our jewels speaks highly of their discerning taste and appreciation of the fine art of jewelry-making,” Damiani said.
Of the design process, Damiani said, “jewelry design is a work in progress that can never be considered finished at first draft and has to adapt with the goldsmith’s art. In jewelry, the designer’s difficult task is not to respond to fashion but to be innovative, contemporary and classical at the same time.” This is an art that has clearly been mastered by the Damiani Group. Inspired by people and their way of living, it is clear the Damiani collections are dedicated to their customers.
When it comes to fine jewelry, Damiani is to be trusted. After all, the company has received the most prestigious diamond jewelry design award, Diamonds International Award, 18 times. Today, that is a record yet to be beat. Her father gave Damiani the Bermude ring, the winning design in 1988. “It is not the most expensive jewel I happen to have, but for me it is priceless,” she said. When asked what her all-time favorite piece of jewelry is, Damiani laughed, “It would be like choosing which of your children you love the most!” However, the Blue Moon diamond earrings, which won her a Diamonds International Award in 1996, are among her most prized pieces.
Not surprisingly, Damiani has partnered with Ferrari, one of Italy’s most luxurious, well known brands. Since 2009, the Damiani Group has produced and distributed jewels for the brand. Damiani’s famous Moon Drops collection was inspired by Ludovica Andreoni, wife of Luca di Montezemolo, Ferrari’s CEO. Other major collaborations include a collection created exclusively for the movie Angels and Demons, one of many collaborations that have been asked of the brand. However Damiani is very careful to only involve the brand in projects that match her high standard of quality. According to Damiani, future collaborations may be in the works but we’ll have to wait and see.
Like everything in life, Damiani explains that every jewel hides a secret: the personality of the wearer. Each time the Damiani team works on the project of a new jewel, they consider the person who will wear it. Damiani explained, “We try to imagine their habits and desires. The objects they surround themselves with. Situations, moments in time and atmospheres. These are like snapshots of a life.” With a new store in Milan, five booming brands and an eight year-old son growing faster than she would like, it’s a wonder how Damiani maintains such a rich life of her own. “Whenever I can spend time with my son, I think it’s the most beautiful thing,” Damiani says.