Casa Codognato is one of Italy’s most acclaimed and internationally known jewelry makers. The brand was founded in Venice in 1866 by Simeone Codognato. Today its jewels are housed in the same space where it began—near Piazza San Marco, but Simeone’s great grandson Attilio now oversees the collection. For the first time ever, a selection of 50 iconic works from the house and Codognato’s personal collection will be on display in a non-museum setting. Starting December 8, the house’s 150th anniversary, Casa Codognato jewelry will be on exhibit at the Serge Sorokko Gallery in San Francisco. The Codognato house is known for featuring serpents and skulls in unique combinations of gold, silver, and precious gemstones. Past and present fans of the jeweler include Maria Callas, Elizabeth Taylor, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Elton John, Tom Ford, Kate Moss, Nicole Kidman, and Tatiana Sorokko.
“Our relationship with Attilio Codognato started 25 years ago when we took our first trip to Venice,” Serge and Tatiana Sorokko told Haute Living by email. “We were having coffee on Piazza San Marco, just steps away from Codognato’s boutique. On the way back to our hotel, we walked inside and were instantly mesmerized. Since then, apart from the Biennale, Attilio has become our secret reason to go to Venice at least once a year. For many years we would go there off-season, in November, with our friends Ralph Rucci and the late Jimmy Galanos, to celebrate Thanksgiving at Attilio’s fabulous palazzo on the Grand Canal.” The Sorokkos first approached Codognato about doing an exhibit over 10 years ago. However, the jeweler was reluctant to display his pieces in a modern setting like Serge’s contemporary art gallery. The Sorokkos admiration and respect for Codognato finally paid off when he agreed to participate in an exhibit. “Serge and Tatiana Sorokko, who are among my most dedicated collectors, have been encouraging me to bring my art to their San Francisco gallery. After more than two decades their persistence has paid off, and I have very happily acquiesced,” Codognato says.
What is it that Tatiana loves about his jewels? “Codognato’s art is distinct and timeless. His jewelry creations are unique, bold and fantastical. They are enigmatic and mysterious,” she explains. “When you buy Codognato jewels, you join an exclusive club of extraordinary people—like Diana Vreeland who bought Blackamoor brooches and Coco Chanel who bought strands of her signature pearls.” Another thing she enjoys about his work is its exclusivity. These aren’t pieces that everyone has. “Luxury, for me, is not defined by price, but by uniqueness and exclusivity. Codognato is coveted by the most discerning collectors. His exquisite jewels are sophisticated objects d’art,” she says. “Wearing Codognato’s jewels makes my life infinitely more enjoyable — and that is ultimate luxury.”
It should be noted that this is the first time Codognato’s pieces will be shown outside of Venice. “This exhibition is incredibly important because it’s the first time ever that Codognato’s jewelry is being shown outside of his boutique in Venice,” Serge says. “It would have been just as important in New York or Los Angeles as it is in San Francisco. Never before have Codognato’s jewels, particularly the ones from his private archive, been on display outside of a museum, nor have they ever been available for purchase outside of his place in Venice.” Tonight the exhibit will open with an exclusive private celebration. Those interested in seeing Codognato’s legendary jewels can do so at the Serge Sorokko Gallery on Geary Street from tomorrow until January 7.