400 Precious Gems Conquer Vicenza’s New Museum

A new museum dedicated to jewelry opens in Vicenza with 400 masterpieces

Text by Porzia Bergamasco

A new museum, Museo del Gioiello, entirely dedicated to jewels opens its doors in Vicenza (Veneto, Italy). The city is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to the buildings of Andrea Palladio. It is also considered to be the capital of Italian jewelry. The museum ideally combines these two attributes in one of the most important architectural "jewels" of Vicenza: the Palladian Basilica dating back to the sixteenth century was declared a national monument in 2014.

Museo del Gioiello, Sala Futuro - Credits Cosmo Laera

It is an ambitious project curated by Alba Cappellieri, Professor of Jewelry Design at the Politecnico di Milano. Cappellieri is passionate about the changes that technology and fashion have undergone in history. The museum was built by the corporation Fiera di Vicenza that is the highest institution in the Italian jewelry sector. Cappellieri’s professional approach can already been seen in her previous books on jewelry. She is also a careful observer of the contemporary mood, an attitude that she carries through the Blog ​Jewellery Scape - developed with her students – and shows an interest in 3D productions.

Alba Cappellieri, Curator of the exhibit - Credits Alfonso Catalano_SGP
Patricia Urquiola, Designer - Credits Alfonso Catalano SGP

The 410 square meters are divided within two levels. The layout of the permanent exhibition - that will change every two years - was designed by Patricia Urquiola for the company Molteni&C, and is divided into nine thematic rooms committed to the first 11 curators and their 400 pieces: Art (Graziella Folchini Grassetto), Beauty (Franco Cologni), Design (Gijs Bakker), Function (Bianca Cappello), Future (Aldo Bakker), Icons (Alfonsina Russo e Ida Caruso), Magic (Maura Picciau e Paolo Maria Guarrera), Fashion (Deanna Farneti Cera), Symbol (Stefano Papi). Alba Cappellieri explains: «A jewel is an object that crosses the borders of many different fields and disciplines often very distant from one another. For this reason I prefer to organize the museum not by styles or historical momentums, but, by exploring what characterizes a jewel within different contexts».

Museo del Gioiello, Zip Van Cleef - Credits Cosmo Laera

The Museum currently exhibits Sea Jewels. The temporary exhibition will carry through July 1st and showcases 100 antique and contemporary jewels made in coral, pearl, and cameo. It is a project that celebrates Torre del Greco, one of the most important and internationally famous Italian regions dedicated to precious sea stones.

Museo del Gioiello - Basilica Palladiana, Vicenza - Credits Alfonso Catalano

​​Museo del Gioiello

​Basilica Palladiana
​Piazza dei Signori 44 - Vicenza
​Monday-Friday: 10.00-19.00
​Saturday, Sunday, holidays: 09.00-19.00

Porzia Bergamasco is an Italian journalist and consultant. Bergamasco curated the Milan Design Film Festival and SaloneSatellite Award. She specializes in design and architecture.

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