Amelia’s Magazine | Ornella Iannuzzi: an interview with fine art jeweller and ‘Jewellery Oscar’ gold award winner

Ornella Iannuzzi Iris van Gelder
Ornella Iannuzzi by Iris van Gelder.

Ornella Iannuzzi is a fine art jeweller who has trained in both France and the UK. I discovered her unique and unusual designs at the latest edition of London Fashion Week, where she presented a beautiful and playful new collection titled Rock It! as part of the Rock Vault selection. Here she answers a few questions about her process and inspiration.

Ornella Iannuzzi Portrait
You have an Italian name but grew up in the French alps, can you describe a bit more about your childhood, upbringing and influences which have contributed to your style?
My dad is Italian and my mum French and I grew up in a small village in the French Alps surrounded by forests, lakes, and stunning landscapes that witness the geological processes which occurred with the formation of the mountains. So I have been totally immersed in Nature from when I was born. The little hood next to our house was my playground and I could spend hours hidden there, waiting for any wild animals to pop out, or just observing trees, plants and rocks. I loved to go minerals hunting too. I would cherish the crystals I found like a very precious treasure! By growing in such surroundings, I learnt to look at Nature differently, and it has had a significant impact on my work. I feel very closely linked to Nature and I believe people can see this through my jewellery.

Ornella Iannuzzi A l'Ere Glaciere
Ornella Iannuzzi Earrings A l'Ere Glaciaire
Why did you decide to attend the RCA after learning the technical aspects of jewellery making in France, and what did your various studies teach you?
I decided to come to the RCA to do a Master and explore my creativity as France is still a bit restricted in this area. The weight of the tradition is so powerful in France that it leaves very little space for thinking “out of the box”. UK is the right place for this. So I have the best of both eductational systems in the end : The technical skills and high quality craftsmanship from France and daring creativity and originality from UK!

Ornella Iannuzzi Earrings Cage Rock It ! 18KY
Ornella Iannuzzi Rock It ! cage pendant
How did you develop the idea for your caged opal pieces, showcased at London Fashion Week?
I have been working with opal spheres for few years now, including them in various collections, and when I came with my new collection based on the dodecahedron crystallisation, it occured to me that the sphere should be inside the dodecahedron, free to move, and the cage came to my mind consequently.

Ornella Iannuzzi Cuff l'Exceptionnelle Emeraude
What are your favourite gemstones and metals to work with and why?
Opals for sure! I discovered the Ethiopian opals back in 2009 and it was LOVE at first sight! As mentioned, I have included them in all my collection since then and I even created a whole collection based on them in 2010: Lucy in Wonderland inspired by my trip to Ethiopia to source the rough stones. I have detailed my journey and the inspiration behind each pieces on my Facebook page, in the photo albums section here. And I also love emerald crystals. Then I love yellow and rose gold for their warm colours and they are such great metal to work with, although rose gold is a bit more challenging then yellow…

Ornella Iannuzzi Ring 2 crystals Rock It !
Who commissions your bespoke pieces?
Collectors, art amateurs, business men and women, and mostly ladies who like to stand out in the crowd and make a statement.

Ornella Iannuzzi Cufflinks Rock It!
Ornella Iannuzzi Rock It ! studs
What prompted the move from fine art jewellery into pret-a-porter ranges, and what have been the challenges in translating your luxe designs into everyday wearable pieces at a lower price point?
My Fine Art Jewellery is more special occasion wear and I sell them only direct. As I wanted to start exporting, I have launched my Prêt-à-Porter collections which came also because I wanted to create some jewellery for daily wear, and more affordable too. Adapting my style to a commercial range was a challenge because I am used to make bold and unique pieces, not production work. So I had to think differently when designing. I also had to change my business model in order to enter the trade market and this was a bit of a challenge too since it involved re-branding and review my strategies.

Ornella-Iannuzzi The Uprising ring
You recently won two Gold Awards at the ‘Jewellery Oscars’ – what piece attracted this accolade and how did you get chosen for the awards?
My latest Fine Art Jewellery ring The Uprising (above) – made in 18k rose gold, diamonds and pearls. I enter the piece to the Goldsmiths’ Craft & Design Council Awards and the judges made their decision according to the categories criterias.

Marvel at more of Ornella Iannuzzi‘s creations on her website here.

Categories ,Dodecahedron, ,french, ,Gold Award, ,Goldsmiths’ Craft & Design Council Awards, ,interview, ,Iris van Gelder, ,jewellery, ,Jewellery Oscars, ,London Fashion Week, ,Lucy in Wonderland, ,Ornella Iannuzzi, ,Pret-a-porter, ,rca, ,Rock It!, ,Rock Vault, ,Royal College of Art, ,The Uprising

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week AW15 Exhibition Stands Report: Jewellery

Imogen Belfield jurassic ring
After nearly 20 years of attending London Fashion Week and supporting emerging designers the British Fashion Council denied me a press pass for the exhibition stands because I forgot to register online (it went to spam mail). After conferring with a manager upstairs I was told that my website was ‘not influential enough’ to warrant a pass and I should reapply next season, which is pretty galling given the amount of time I have spent promoting designers in Amelia’s Magazine over the past decade, many at the start of their careers. The only way I was allowed in was to drag a designer out from the stands so that I could be allocated a plastic wrist band as a visiting friend. Thanks for the show of appreciation for all my hard work BFC!

Jewellery has become a major fixture at the exhibition stands, so there is loads to report on. Read on if you love jewels as much as I do.

Imogen Belfield
Much gratitude to the lovely Imogen Belfield for leaving her stand in the Rock Vault to sort me out with an exhibition pass. Her new collection is amazing as ever, featuring rough diamonds, black diamonds and an array of new fine metals as well as solid gold pieces designed to appeal to her Far Eastern markets. Her chunky Jurassic ring (at the top) is chock full of rough diamonds. Yum yum! Read my first interview with Imogen Belfield here, we’ll be doing a catch up Q&A soon.

Alice Cicolini
This season Alice Cicolini (read more in this round up here) showcased a concise new collection named Summer Snow, featuring fine quartz crystals which spin on the inside and outside, with precious gems such as tourmaline and sapphire in the centres. So different and beautiful.

Ornella Ianuzzi
Also in the Rock Vault I was wowed by jewellery from Ornella Iannuzzi for the first time. These opal cage earrings feature a beautiful round gemstone that rolls around inside a gold shape inspired by the Platonic Solids. Find out more about Ornella in my upcoming interview.

Goddess Aviator goddess aviator
This gigantic Goddess Aviator showpiece by art jewellers Yunus and Eliza is not for the faint hearted! What an awesome piece.

Shimell and Madden
We first met Shimell and Madden way back in 2011, so it was nice to see them now doing so well – I love the new collection, featuring these unusual cabochon garnets and finely set diamonds.

This is what they do! Stratus rain earrings dancing away at Rock Vault

A video posted by Jo Hayes Ward (@johayesward) on

Jo Hayes-Ward has not let a new baby get in the way of her prolific output, first profiled in Amelia’s Magazine in 2010 – creating swathes of new designs in her signature building block style. An inspiration to us all! These earrings dance so beautifully, as shown in her video. Just imagine them in the ear! Magnificent.

Beth Gilmour
Beth Gilmour is a Cockpit Arts based designer, I absolutely adore her Dichroma Collection, featuring bi coloured gemstones set in similarly toned metals.

Lily Kamper
Lily Kamper enamel pendants
Moving on to other rooms… Lily Kamper has also been busy creating a vast new collection, including this glorious pendant in her colourful Art Deco style. Also new for this season are new abstract enamel initial pendants, which she began sketching out last season.

Kattri pendant
This bold pendant comes from the new Assymetry collection by Kattri – find out more about designer Amanda Gerbasi in my recent interview here.

Ruifier face pendants
So sweet and unusual: these gem face pendants are by Ruifier, which is the new jewellery brand from Central Saint Martins graduate Rachel Shaw. Her distinct pieces feature precious gems in layerable designs that marry wit with luxury.

Alighieri is Dante inspired jewellery from Oxford University graduate Rosh Mahtani, who set up her brand in 2013 with no formal training but a burning desire to translate her love of literature into jewels.

Eshvi bracelet
This bracelet by Eshvi showcases the brand’s individual aesthetic, featuring chunky resin shapes in bold designs.

Brooke Gregson constellation pendants
Brooke Gregson is another designer who is new to me. The American designer works with some fabulous boulder opals and her Astrology collection is such a unique and wonderful idea.

Ros Millar rings
These gothic rings are from Ros Millar, also based in the Cockpit Arts studio, and whose work I admired a few years ago at the Treasure Jewellery Show.

Kirsty Ward
Kirsty Ward necklace
It’s always a joy to catch up with Kirsty Ward, especially since she hasn’t show at London Fashion Week for a few seasons. As well as churning out a full collection of clothing her jewellery range has also grown hugely since she first started out with Fashion Scout. I absolutely adore her unique statement pieces.

Only Child necklace
Over with Black PR I discovered these serious druzies on a chunky gold chain by Only Child.

Gina Melosi
Designer Gina Melosi (discovered last year at the Off Strand showcase) specialises in ethical jewellery, creating distinctive looks such as this raw beehive geometric design on a necklace.

More from the stands soon…

Categories ,Alice Cicolini, ,Alighieri, ,Amanda Gerbasi, ,Assymetry, ,Astrology, ,AW15, ,Beth Gilmour, ,Black PR, ,british fashion council, ,Brooke Gregson, ,Central Saint Martins, ,Cockpit Arts, ,Dichroma Collection, ,Eshvi, ,Exhibition Stands Report, ,Fashion Scout, ,Fine Jewellery, ,Gina Melosi, ,Goddess Aviator, ,Imogen Belfield, ,jewellery, ,Jo Hayes-Ward, ,Jurassic, ,Kattri, ,Kirsty Ward, ,Lily Kamper, ,London Fashion Week, ,Millar, ,Off Strand, ,Only Child, ,Ornella Iannuzzi, ,Oxford University, ,Platonic Solids, ,Rachel Shaw, ,Rock Vault, ,Rosh Mahtani, ,Ruifier, ,Shimell and Madden, ,Summer Snow, ,Treasure Jewellery Show, ,Yunus and Eliza

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