The Toscano CollectionApr 23, 2017
The Toscano Italian Gold Collection is more than just jewelry. It is artwork and stunning craftsmanship all wrapped up in Italian gold. Italian gold was one of the launching points behind the Toscano Collection when Ben Bridge buyer Laura Barringer found herself wandering through a region of Italy the locals call the golden triangle. She […]
Italian gold was one of the launching points behind the Toscano Collection when Ben Bridge buyer Laura Barringer found herself wandering through a region of Italy the locals call the golden triangle. She was inspired by the culture and knew the region had something special that Ben Bridge had to bring home.
Nearly two decades later, the Toscano Collection exclusive to Ben Bridge brings together more than 60 small businesses in Italy that we work directly with; businesses and craftsmen that bring hundreds of years of craftsmanship to Ben Bridge.
“Artistry is just inherent in the Italian culture. There is incredible Roman architecture, there is incredible Italian food, and there is incredible Italian gold jewelry,” said Barringer. “It is simply unmatched around the world. And it’s not for lack of trying. I’ve seen other countries try to imitate what Italy has to offer, but the craftsmanship in Italy has been passed down generation to generation in family-run shops, and it’s simply stunning.”
Ben Bridge goes back to Italy year after year to find and partner directly with some of the most skilled craftsmen and women in the world. It’s allowed Ben Bridge to offer jewelry in smaller custom made batches, instead of mass produced pieces.
The golden triangle in Italy is a region at the top of the Italian boot, starting in the South with the city of Arezzo, up to Vicenza in the northeast, and over to Valenza in the northwest. It is an area that is prolific in talent. Roughly 75% of the jewelry made in Italy comes from this region, and more than 2/3s of the jewelry in Europe comes from there.
Vicenza has a history of goldsmiths dating back 700 years. Arezzo has an even older history, going back to 700 BC. The Arezzo region is famous for its love of filigree and its desire to never leave a surface untouched. Combined, the region is world renowned for the skills it offers.
Often times these artists will simply walk from one part of their house to their workshop in the same building. And if it’s not in the same building, it’s frequently within a short walk. It’s not uncommon to for these craftsmen to be sitting at dinner tables polishing one last bracelet.
“It’s a level of detail and care than is just amazing to find,” Barringer said. “Their pride shows up in the pieces they make. The love and dedication comes through in details that are just stunning.”
The Italians like to create jewelry they call heritage pieces. It’s not jewelry to the tossed aside; the goldsmiths make jewelry designed to last.
Barringer still travels to Italy at least once a year to talk to, and meet with her Italian goldsmiths. This year there are more than 60 individual suppliers, and each one is proud to show off their specialty.
“We love buying directly from our suppliers because it gives us so much more control over what we can buy. Rather than wait and see what a mass produced jewelry distributor will offer, we can go and talk to the jewelers themselves and tell them what our customers are looking for,” Barringer said. “And they are incredible to work with.”
One company makes the most beautiful hand-tooled designs; one company has a craftsman that specializes in texturizing gold bracelets with hammers and skills that have been passed down for generations.
“I can’t tell you why this guy hammers better than the next guy, but he does.” she laughs. ”It’s obviously more than just a hammer, he specializes in texturing his pieces. He really puts love into his jewelry, and the hand crafting he brings to it is simply amazing. When he’s sick, or on vacation, we will wait for him.”
Jewelry is your personal story; it’s your personality, it’s your history and it’s your future. The Toscano Collection for Ben Bridge is our story and it’s one of the reasons Ben Bridge travels the world searching for craftsmen and jewelry worthy of our customers. You never know what or who you will find.