The centerpiece, of this 13-year traveling exhibition, was the "Smithsonian Cup," an original piece created by Gianmaria Buccellati in honor of that 2000 exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
In October 2000, “Buccellati: Art in Gold, Silver, & Gems” exhibition presenting works of art and jewelry created by the House of Buccellati, an Italian firm established in the mid-eighteenth century and re-established by Mario Buccellati in 1919.
Gianmaria Buccellati is the current master craftsman and owner; therefore, he chose the finest pieces from the House of Buccellati collection. Then he borrowed many of his one of a kind pieces stunning designs from several international private collections.
“Over the past 13 years, the Cup has served as a traveling ambassador for the Smithsonian,” said Jeffrey Post, curator of the National Gem Collection. “We are delighted to have it home for a while and to be able to once again exhibit it here at the Natural History Museum.”
The Buccellati chalice was 24 years in the making, and is considered a signature piece in the Smithsonian’s permanent collection. He designed and chose the best craftsmen to produce the Cup with elements of yellow, white and rose gold as well as hints of silver and 40 medallions in mother-of-pearl.
“The Smithsonian Cup symbolizes the strong partnership between the Smithsonian and Buccellati, two organizations that celebrate and honor the beauty of the natural world,” said Alberto Milani, CEO of Buccellati Inc. “We are thrilled that the Cup is back on display for millions of visitors in the nation’s capital to admire and enjoy.”
Recently, the cup was the focal point of an event held at the museum. Titled "Gifts from the Ocean,” the event showcased Buccelati pearls. A noted piece that was on display was the Gran Dama brooch—one of Buccellati’s latest designs, which centers around a Melo pearl, an extremely rare gem found in the waters of southeast Asia.
Since the 2000 exhibition, the cup has been on loan to several museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts in St Petersburg, Fla., in 2002, the Boca Raton Museum of Art in 2005 and at the Moscow Kremlin Museum from 2008 to 2009.
The 13 year traveling exhibition included 75 one of a kind pieces, including, necklaces, bracelets, chalices and candlesticks, as well as the center piece, the Smithsonian Cup.