Like a secret garden hidden from the bustle of modern-day Rome, behind the gates, in the midst of all the history, glamour, art, fashion, and noise, is a sacred, private Rome that is the essence of the Cazzaniga brand and family. Just blocks removed from the bright lights and heavy foot traffic of the famed Via dei Condotti lined with top international designers, is a bastion of civility, timeless treasure, and lasting friendship. One could spend a fortune in any of these renowned boutiques that line the fashionable area of Rome (or any major city), acquiring a souvenir from their visit to Rome or a token of luxury and beauty, but you would miss something even more precious. Like a visitor to the Vatican who stands in line with thousands of others to see the marvelous sights, a select few have the privilege of a private, behind the scenes look, or in-person meeting with the Pope without the crowds. This is exactly the experience loyal patrons who have given Cazzaniga jewelry a cult following have discovered.
The Cazzaniga brand dates back to the founder, Angelo Giorgio Cazzaniga and may best be considered a luxurious blend of eclecticism and experimentalism. Since the 1940’s, Angelo Giorgio designed unique jewels that represent the perfect synthesis between artistic elements belonging to different epochs and cultures: Renaissance recalls, Byzantine inserts, Baroque euphoria, and Asian influences. The complexity of designs and decorations and the copiousness of gold and colored stones give rise to dazzling and an internationally renowned “jet set” following.
When purchasing or having Paolo design a piece of Cazzaniga jewelry, you are not only acquiring a beautiful, one-of-a-kind handmade piece of art, the likes of which there is no equal in the world, by wearing it, you are representing something even more unique and special.
Cazzaniga is a family affair, from founder Angelo Giorgio, to son Paolo, to his son, Giorgio, an international attorney and the company’s marketing director who, working alongside his father is keeping the Cazzaniga name and tradition alive and well, introducing the brand and legacy to new markets and clientele and ushering this time-honored family symbol of distinction, sophistication, and luxury into the twenty-first century and solidifying their place in Roman history.
Cazzaniga jewelry, as was conceived by Angelo Giorgio, to this day through the eyes and talent of Paolo, continues to be inspired by ancient and baroque Rome, Russia, and Asia. Angelo Giorgio grew up visiting the Villa Abamalek, home to the Russian Prince in Rome, of which his father oversaw, which left an indelible impression and was the creative foundation and inspiration for Cazzaniga. Paolo has continued this proud tradition, being born with a precise and artistic eye, becoming educated in gemology at the Gemological Institute of America in Los Angeles, and being further inspired by the magnificent surroundings of his native Rome, combined with the Byzantine and Russian influences of his family background, as well as additional Asian nuances from his travels. Today, Cazzaniga jewelry is sold by appointment at their studio in Rome, and the Cazzaniga’s frequently visit and exhibit their jewelry in Japan, the United States, and elsewhere. Over the years, Paolo has spent a great deal of time designing and doing business in Japan, which has led to some very unique, beautiful creations—imagine combining the art of Ancient Rome and the proud history of Japan—think gorgeous pieces handcrafted from varying shades of jade, adorned with spectacular jewels fit for royalty, it is no wonder Cazzaniga’s pieces are considered collector’s items and the family has garnered such a loyal international following. In fact, Japanese consumers the #1 buyers of this timeless cult brand, second only to their very loyal following of clientele in the United States, many of whom come from families that have purchased Cazzaniga jewelry for several generations, dating back to Angelo Giorgio and continue to acquire new pieces of art brought to life by Paolo, a gifted artist and world-class jeweler with an inimitable style of design and keen eye for the exquisite.
In fact, my uncle met Angelo Giorgio while stationed at the famed Hotel Hassler at the top of the Spanish Steps, where he ran the commissary during World War II. Angelo visited frequently to purchase then scarce toothpaste from my uncle, who asked: “how many kids do you have?” to which he replied, “I am a silversmith, I need to keep my silver polished and toothpaste does the trick!” The Cazzaniga family and my family became great friends and remained so after the war, with son Paolo visiting my family in the United States for his honeymoon in the 1960’s, after my parents, grandparents, and family attended their wedding in Italy. Today, his son Giorgio and I are great friends, we have kept this great story of international friendship alive for over 70 years, and we are honored and humbled by the connection and bonds of friendship that emerged from one of the toughest periods in modern history.
A visit to Cazzaniga and acquisition of Cazzaniga jewelry is not like visiting any other boutique or jewelry store. Customers become friends and gain access to a part of Rome that is very special and not accessible to anyone. This very special, privileged world is the modern culmination of years and centuries of Roman nobility, papacy, and history, coming together in a way that makes “la dolce vita” seem pedestrian. This is purely Roman. Visiting with the Cazzaniga’s you might find yourself whisked away to a very private courtyard, cocktail party, or polo match, nibbling on luscious hors d’oeuvres, sipping fine wine, rubbing elbows with descendants of papal families, princes, and princesses. It is an exclusive club a la Great Gatsby in perhaps the grandest setting on earth, where anyone in the fold can relax and enjoy the experience. Private dinners in Vatican City with the illuminated dome of St. Peter’s Basilica so close you feel you could touch it, or at a famous Palazzo, and drinks on a private terrace with candlelight and blooming jasmine overlooking the crowds as the sun sets over Piazza di Spagna, or a meal cooked to order at one of the most exclusive beach clubs in Italy which was frequented by Mussolini. As a student of Italian and Roman history, it is amazing to meet descendants of many of the names that were right out of history books. This is the Rome and Italy I have been privileged to know, thanks to my family’s legacy of friendship with the Cazzaniga’s. Paolo, Giorgio, and family are down to earth, real people who embrace their customers and treat them like valued members of the family. Father and son both frequently travel to Japan and elsewhere, including the United States to personally visit clients who have become friends in their homes. Being part of the Cazzaniga legacy is a special club, as you have found your home in Rome, a marvelous tribute to an incredible city and history, that is being proudly carried forth by proud Romans of today, Paolo and Giorgio Cazzaniga. Owning a piece of Cazzaniga jewelry is owning a piece of history, a level of artistry, design, craftsmanship, and personalized attention to detail unattainable anywhere else, not just in the creation of the masterpiece, but in forging lasting friendships, that makes this the most special, exclusive experience in all of Rome ¨