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Italian jewelry designer Anna Porcu resurrects the cameo

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Remember the cameo, those old fashioned brooches in your mother’s jewelry box? Italian jewelry designer, Anna Porcu Caratelli, has breathed new life into the carved beauties.

In bold up-to-date expressions of old and new, the Tuscan designer mixes leather with cameos in strikingly bold, contemporary cuff-like designs.

From a family of antique dealers near Siena, Anna Porcu grew up amid revered objects of art from antiquity. Cameos held special interest for her among the kinds of jewelry she admired.

Anna speaks of lifelong enchantment with cameos.

I always was fascinated by them, but I never was able to wear them airily, sometimes I wore them fastened to the hats like a gentlemen from fifteenth century, but it always comes the time to take the hat off, doesn’t it?

Anna’s designs incorporate cameos in an expanded jewelry repertoire that goes well beyond the brooch. She fashions them into bracelets, necklaces -- even earrings -- that speak of a confluence of past and present, masculinity and femininity, simplicity and intricacy.

Anna herself collected 18th and 19th century cameos. More contemporary cameos in her collections are made from traditional materials such as sardonyx stone, shell, but also from lava, turquoise, amber, ivory, and coral. They include a variety of subjects and figures and range from delicate to ornate in the quality of the carving. All achieve a presence in her creative conscience to become manifested in her innovative designs.

Anna Porcu designs are one-of-a-kind. She sells them in her retail jewelry shop, Arte e Preziosi, in the Italian town of Pienza.

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