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NARDI's Venetian Chic

The "Paola" Moretto clip in diamonds, pearls, rock crystal and black resin face.

Since 1926, the famous jeweler of St. Mark's Square has embellished the treasure chests of the rich and famous of the world, all fascinated by his refined jewels, subtly orientalist and imbued with the Venetian taste for the exotic. Today also very contemporary.

Text by Adriano Davoli

Venice, north wing of the elegant arcades of the Procuratie Nuove, a short distance from the historic Caffé Florian and a stone's throw from the magnificent Correr Museum: at number 69 there is a place of rare elegance, muffled, pervaded by the highest and purest Venetian spirit, of a rare and authentic beauty. It is the headquarters of Nardi, the "Jeweler of Venice", a unique treasure chest that since the late Twenties of the last century creates refined handmade jewelry characterized by metals and precious workmanship, by the use of the rarest or most unusual gems, often combined with strong color contrasts.

"Le Maschere" collection of rings made of enamels, diamonds and multi-coloured gems, on yellow and pink gold.

A perfectly independent reality, with its own artisans and laboratories, detached from any more recent market rule aimed at agglomerating famous luxury brands or favoring too fleeting fashions, of which we soon get tired. Style has always been not water: Nardi's one knows how to excel. Giulio Nardi, its founder of Florentine origin, landed here for a great love story with a beautiful Venetian who later became his wife, has always wanted, from the beginning, to bring to the world with his jewels the cultured, unique and unmistakable style of Venice.

Jewels that remind his lucky customer of a rare and unique moment lived in this magical city, as a precious, unforgettable souvenir. It is the same spirit with which Alberto Nardi today, as if to mimic that of a refined merchant in the glorious times of the Serenissima, continues with passion, elegance and absolute search for beauty the family tradition, in perfect representation of his third generation. Its President and Creative Director, he is constantly looking for the renewal of aesthetics and styles so inextricably linked to Venice, to its historic taste for exoticism, yet with a careful look at contemporaneity.

Overview of the very elegant and sophisticated interiors of Nardi's boutique, a must to visit when in Venice.

The city is an open-air museum, where every corner, every detail, palace, decorations and architecture can suggest the idea for the birth of a new, refined jewel. Like the famous and iconic "Moretto" brooches for which the renowned jewelry is so famous, all depicting in subtly different ways elegant half-length oriental figures, almost of Shakespeare's Othello, with turbans and robes decorated with the most colorful and precious gems. A cultured call of Giulio Nardi, their creator, certainly influenced by the famous Turcherie, all the most fashionable things in Europe from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, directly inspired by the art and culture of the Ottoman courts, by the Middle Eastern travels of the time and by the commercial and diplomatic ties of Venice with Constantinople and the Sublime Porta.

The "I Veneziani rings" with golden faces made in amber, turbans studded with diamonds

After having counted among its most exclusive customers personalities of the caliber of Princess Grace of Monaco, Princess Paola of Belgium or the royals of Greece and Spain, of bizarre heiresses such as Barbara Hutton or Lady Lydia Deterding, of the sarcastic Duchess of Windsor, of strong-willed actresses like Marylin Monroe, algid like Ingrid Bergman or beautiful and famous like Elizabeth Taylor, all with their iconic Moretto brooch especially dedicated, today Nardi aims to elegantly renew the most authentic spirit of Venice for the beautiful, the refined and the exclusive, thus interpreting a new concept of luxury.

The "Lion" clip in burnished silver and yellow gold is set with white and brown diamonds, the perfect tribute to one of the most iconic symbols of Venice.

The most spectacular moretto brooches, of rare beauty, have the upper part of the bust that can be opened, to reveal inside the romantic Venetian profile of churches, bell towers and domes. To them, all highly appreciated by the refined international clientele present in Venice since the late '40s, during all the glamorous '50s, the '60s of the Jet-Set and well beyond, are added today the most recent creations conceived with the same taste for the sublime, the unprecedented and the eclectic.

The main entrance of Nardi's historic boutique overlooking Saint Mark's Square in Venice. All images courtesy of Nardi.

During a pleasant conversation that I had the privilege of sharing recently with Alberto Nardi, the rare vintage jewels such as the Moretto "Tree of Life", chiseled in platinum and covered entirely in diamonds, as well as his most recent collections, are all paraded one after the other from his hands before my eyes: each presented on refined and scenographic scarlet velvets, to enhance shapes, volumes and colors. All shown with the allure, passion and expertise of a true, great jeweler. Funny and cultured at the same time, with a flirtatious touch so decidedly Venetian, the collection of rings and earrings "Le Maschere", presented on the occasion of the Carnival, portrays the unequivocally eighteenth-century face of a lady of the time, entirely made of enamel obtained with the ancient fire technique: it has a pink complexion, cheeks with a delicate touch of rouge, the fiery red lips and two witty eyes made of diamonds, hidden but very winking behind the classic mask, black, white or colored, of Colombina. The perfect oval of the face is framed with different gems, each time mounted on delicate griffes: white or black diamonds, blue or pink sapphires, bright green tsavorite garnets or colorful tourmalines in unexpected shades.

The exquisite "Casanova" cufflinks in gold, enamel, white resin and diamonds are shaped like XVIII Century gentlemen.

The generous volumes of the rings and boule earrings of the "Mosaico" series, with yellow gold bezels with an only apparently sketchy appearance, deliberately irregular, almost barbaric, retain amethysts and garnets of round and oval cut. Extremely modern, they are proposed in a wide choice of other alternative gems, with the arrangement of the stones that refers precisely to the precious polychrome tesserae that adorn the Basilica of San Marco and other famous Byzantine churches in town. Very beautiful is the new animalier collection that has the lion as an interpreter, a magnificent exotic beast with a white and yellow gold profile, with the mane as moved by the wind, made of burnished Silver and yellow gold set with white and brown diamonds in different shades. It is rendered on an important ring, my favorite piece, on elegant cufflinks and on a brooch that can also be worn as a pendant. Also proposed on an important cuff bracelet, very precious, to be exhibited on the wrist. Fascinating the new clip "Trilly", or Tinker Bell, with the supple body of the delightful winged fairy, friend of Peter Pan, with stylized anthropomorphic features, in white gold and pavé-set diamonds, with elegant mobile wings in engraved turquoise, in memory of the famous fairy tale with which we all certainly loved to dream. Even the iconic Moretto has new companions, those of the series "I Veneziani", this is the name chosen for them by Nardi, with the face features now made of a transparent Mexican amber, perfectly free of inclusions and by golden yellow reflections.

In addition to brooches, they are also declineted as pendants, hanging from elegant gold chains with wide, oval and fluid links. Large chandelier earrings with a bird cage effect, in gold thread and pink briolette-cut sapphires, reveal to a closer look that it is actually the three-dimensional profile of the famous Basilica dedicated to Santa Maria della Salute, on the Grand Canal, one of the places most dear to the Venetians, of great charm and history, where it is always magical to be able to return when in town. Spectacular and sculptural, the recent cocktail ring "Frozen Balls", by a generous shape, elegantly opulent and daring, is mounted on its entire surface with a myriad of round cabochon moonstones, by precious iridescent reflections, the perfect pretext to retain in the center a rare aquamarine of rectangular-cut, of the most intense and crystalline blue.

The "Mia" division of Nardi, which occupies one of the five windows of the renowned jewelry shop, is a recent project conceived and dedicated to its new and younger clients, a collection aimed at modern women with a very precise taste, who personally buy, to gratify themselves, jewels by a most daily and less formal portability. The world of gardens and floral inspirations are dominant, with large daisy rings with enamel petals shaded in delicate tones, by pistils embellished with gems played in contrasting color, others with wooden and yellow gold buds hatch to reveal their precious pollen in diamonds. Very feminine and bucolic, a bit boho-chic, extremely modern.

The most elegant men can also count on a wide choice of cufflinks, all with a strong stylistic characterization, Morettos included, in gold, silver, gemstones and polychrome enamels. A visit to Nardi is magical, unforgettable: it is like entering a precious Wunderkammer of other times where jewels with an exquisitely heritage taste coexist perfectly in great harmony with others decidedly more contemporary. Their ensemble is an eclectic, skilful, creative mélange perfectly balanced and very, very well done.

Adriano Davoli

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