Gift Guide for Festive Jewelry and Hands-on Experiences in Florence

When giving gifts this year, consider tapping into the rich heritage of jewelry making in Florence to discover the contemporary goldsmiths and jewelry designers who are giving a fresh edge to the long-standing traditions of exquisite craftsmanship. Needless to say, it’s been a challenging year for artisans this year (as it has been for so many), so we love the idea of shopping local and connecting directly to the makers themselves to arrange the perfect gift. We’ve collected some of our favorites from around town to satisfy all tastes (and price points!). Be sure to also check out the jewelry-making experiences at the end of the post for some hands-on fun.

Naomi Muirhead, the jewelry designer and artist behind Art925, makes jewelry and collages utilizing vintage ephemera, Italian maps, letters, photos, watch parts, all sorts of other intriguing found materials, re-purposed for a new life while honoring the past imprint of the object’s history. Each piece is unique, hand-made, and can be customized. For a special gift this season, we love the Essere Ring in sterling silver, paper, and resin, shown here US size 6.75, though other sizes and words can be commissioned upon request (€80). The Villa Giulia necklace in sterling silver and black marble makes a beautiful gift someone special in your life (€165, other stone colors can be commissioned), as do the Italian Map pendant (sterling silver, paper, and resin, €70, with other map options available) and the Watch Gear pendant (sterling silver, vintage watch movement, and resin, €80 euro). For more information about Naomi’s fascinating work, visit the Art925 website. Find these styles and more in the online shop.

For true jewelry lovers, an absolute “must” when in Florence is a stop at the co-working jewelry studio Officine Nora. Founded by goldsmith Margherita de Martino Norante, the workshop hosts several other jewelers from around the world for both short-term projects and on a long-term basis. Be sure to keep track of their activities, workshops and experiences (which will start up again as soon as conditions allow). For your jewelry-loving friends and loved ones, the diverse range of jewelry at Officine Nora is sure to please everyone. Here are a few things that caught our eye (in the order shown above): Silver Beaded Heart Pendant by Margherita de Martino Norante (€65-70), Miracolous Medal by Apnea (€115), Magic Beans (goodluck charms for 2021) by Margarita Malliri (€40-45), Bonbon Petite earrings by Martina Lončar (€145), Paillettes necklace by Margherita de Martino Norante (€320), and Miraculous Medal by Monastery Jewellery (€115). For more, visit the Officine Nora online shop or visit the workshop.

Joy Franklin, the designer behind A Thousand Joys, produces jewelry inspired by her travels and research on historical ornamentation and traditional patterns across cultures, Using gold, silver and precious stones, she creates each piece in her bustling studio just around the corner from the Ponte Vecchio. We certainly recommend taking a spin around her online shop and following her on Instagram, but these are a few of our favorites for your holiday gift giving (shown above): the Etruscan stud earrings in sterling silver (€30), the Aurora necklace in sterling silver (€86) and the exquisite Temple of the stars hoop earrings in 18k gold and blue green diamonds (€435).

Floema, the new jewelry brand by goldsmith Valentina Caprini, takes its curious name from the vascular tissue of plants, which connects roots and branches to allow flowers and fruits to bloom. Inspired by the sartorial traditions and the heritage of the women in her family, Valentina weaves past and present to give life to delicate, thought-provoking pieces. For your holiday gifts this season, we love her unisex Febe ring, which can be worn single, in a stack, with the jewel facing outward or hidden in the palm or your hand. For a limited time the Febe ring is priced at €55. We also love the silver Vita earrings (€220) and the absolutely gorgeous gold Treccia necklace with a stunning sapphire pendant (€450). To learn more about Floema, visit the website and follow along on Instagram.

If you’ve been following along with our gift guides, then you know how much exciting work happens at the co-working artisan studio Campucc10. Jewelry designer and engraver (and founding member of Campucc10) Marla Desii makes thoughtful handcrafted pieces that take inspiration from nature and the body. We love the new collection of Austerity rings, a clever reworking of the traditional solitaire ring (€95). Be sure to also take a look at the Coral collection featuring earrings and necklaces (starting at €95) and the delicate Wings necklace (€95). As current restrictions lift, we suggest stopping by for a visit, but for now browse Marla’s work on line and follow along on Instagram.

Jewelry designer Sara Amrhein has just released a brand new collection, which, for those of you who know and love her colorful statement pieces in polymer clay, will come as an exciting surprise! This past spring when she didn’t have access to her usual tools or supplies, Sara started experimenting with the lost wax casting technique, which allows her to transform her signature floral designs into stunning silver, bronze and brass pieces. We love how the less-than-ideal conditions of 2020 have sparked a whole new approach to her craft. The pieces shown here range from €48 – €155 and can delivered in Florence or shipped worldwide. For more information or to shop online, visit her website or follow on Instagram and Facebook.

Lady Ripple is a multifaceted project that aims to promote Florentine craftsmanship as well as spread knowledge about sustainable practices and lifestyles. We love that a central aspect of their cause is their charity, Bee the Ripple, which raises awareness about the importance of bees in the global ecosystem. To that end, 10% of the sales of their gorgeous bee jewelry goes toward supporting local apiculture. All of the jewelry in their collection is designed by the Lady Ripple founders, Laura Shadden and Allyson Volpe, and produced by local artisans. For a simple yet elegant gift this season, we love the gold-plated Beeline Necklace (€32). For a little color to carry around with you, the Enamelled Bee Pin (available in a variety of colors) is a great pick (€50). There are so many beautiful pieces to a choose from, but for an extra-special gift, we are in love with the Bee Dazzled Earrings, which are available with a range of precious gemstones (€360). Visit the Lady Ripple online shop to see more lovely styles.

Workshops and Hands-on Activities

Metalsmiths in Florence jewelry-making holiday package

For the jewelry lover who wants to start from the basics or perfect his or her skills AND who can’t wait to travel again, how about spending an amazing week in Florence learning the art of jewelry making from a master Florentine goldsmith? Stay in a frescoed 14th century palazzo, privately tour one of Florence’s famous museums, and taste world-renowned wines in Chianti. Whether you are an experienced jewelry maker or a beginner, there is a spot for you. Led by Florence lover and metalsmith Monica Cardone of Ciao Monica, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes taste of what the artisan life is like in Florence. The Metalsmiths in Florence experience starts at $3950 (double occupancy), but there are also rates for Florence locals. For more information, click here. As an added bonus, claim your $100 voucher with code “CPiF”.

Jewelry Workshops with Naomi Muirhead of Art925 (photo by Birgitte Brondsted)

For an exciting jewelry-making experience in Florence that you can tailor to your interests and availability, we love the individual or small group workshops offered by Naomi Muirhead. This could be a unique experience to add to your travel itinerary (as soon as it’s possible), or a gift to someone you know here in Florence. Inquire about having private jewelry lessons or workshops from one person minimum to 8 maximum. Bespoke jewelry-making courses can vary from 3 hours to 3 months, based on personal needs and requests. No prior experience is needed for beginners. Naomi has been teaching these courses for 15+ years in a studio in the historic center of Florence. Courses are available in both English and Italian. Contact for more information. For more info visit: https://art925.wordpress.com/jewelry-courses-in-florence/

For that friend who loves working with her hands, how about a DIY polymer clay earring kit? Jewelry designer Sara Amrhein is now offering these fun kits, which are a fabulous way to stay creative this season. Choose your color palette and Sara will put together a kit that includes all the materials, tools and instructions you need to make up to 6 pairs or colorful statement earrings! Kits are €30 with free delivery in Florence or €5 anywhere else in the world. Contact Sara at sara@sara-amrhein.com or send a DM on Instagram or Facebook to order.

Stay tuned over the coming weeks for more gift ideas from local designers and small business owners for all the special people in your life. As always, shop small, shop local. Happy gifting!

To learn more about the artists mentioned above and discover other top quality craftsmanship in Florence, download the new Creative People in Florence App! Free to download from the App Store or Google Play, the App offers access to a selection of local artisans and designers. You can use it to map the route to their workshop or you can browse their online profiles and shop online.

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