Luca Buccellati is a third generation member of the legendary Buccellati jewellers of Milan. While speaking to him, one is immediately drawn in by his warm and passionate way of introducing his family’s long-running enterprise: “When I was a kid, I never thought that I would be joining my father in his business. I always wanted to be a musician!” he laughs merrily. “I went to the United States and studied there. When I came back, my father said ‘Luca you can do whatever you want. But one day, you are going to join me and work with me.’ And after two or three years working by myself, his wish came true.”

Prior to Luca’s involvement, the Buccellati family business story began in 1919 with the founder, Luca’s grandfather, Mario Buccellati. “When my grandfather was 15 years old he started working in a small jewellery store in Milan, near the La Scala opera house. He eventually bought the company from its owners and started designing jewellery. In the first few months he didn’t even have the money to produce the jewellery. Instead he just displayed his drawings in the shop window.”

Mario Buccellati was selling a dream, and people bought it. By 1925 he opened a shop in Rome and in 1929 expanded to Florence. By 1951 the brand left Europe, finding its way to New York.

“Being part of the family business is not easy. Whatever you do it is nearly impossible to live up to what your grandfather and father have already built” Luca admiringly reflects without an ounce of resentment. When Mario Buccellati died in 1965 he left his business to his five sons. Due to conflict between the brothers the business was split up in 1972. By 1980 there were three Buccellati companies run separately by different family members. Decades later when the third generation of Buccellati took charge of the businesses, they decided to reunite. “We are stronger together and stronger than ever.” says Luca Buccellati. “We were always united as a family and, at a certain point in time, we started speaking about the business again. We all felt that our dream was to be reunited” With the Buccellati centennial less than a decade away, the family business was reunited in 2011, and all divisions gathered once again under one brand.

Throughout the years the family has maintained its classic style. The jewellery Buccellati produces bears a timeless nostalgia whilst exuding an obviously daring Italian flair. “Buccellati style!” laughs Luca Buccellati as he fondly shows us some of his favourite pieces.

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Luca Buccellati’s uncle, Gianmaria Buccellati, is still active in the business and a great inspiration to all. “We love him. He is sort of a grandfather to us all. Him and my cousin are in charge of design and are still supervising every single piece. My role is to be the brand ambassador”, offers Luca with a charm so carefree that the reasoning behind his designation is made abundantly clear.

Humble in their approach to public appearances, the Buccellatis are now confronted with an industry that harbours fierce competition. Nevertheless, the family wants to stay true to its tradition of feeling that less will always be more. Despite this strategy, Buccellati has consistently expanded its international footprint.

“We were the first Italian jewellers to conquer New York,” Luca Buccellati states arms crossed over a chest seemingly swelling with pride. “We have just celebrated 60 year of Buccellati in America last December. We are also in Paris, London, and Los Angeles. And we are planning on opening many more new stores with the support of a private equity firm we trust.”

Along with Luca, active family members in the Buccellati’s company are uncle Gianmaria, his wife Rosie, and Gianmaria’s children Andrea, Gino, and Maria Cristina. The reunion of the various Buccellati branches has proven a strategic move that resulted in a company-wide victory. “Our history is what makes us so strong. We faced adversity through our separation but coming together made us so much stronger,“ states Luca.

But that alone is not what makes the family business work so well; it is the strong emotions behind every decision and piece they design. “I love jewellery. It’s an honour to do this. As a family business, you have to challenge yourself twice as much than in a normal company,” confesses Luca. “It is a great challenge and a responsibility that I take very seriously. It is the love for our family that makes this business great.” With no intention of pressuring them, Luca Buccellati admits that he would love for his son and more of the fourth generation to join the business eventually. “The family business is not for everyone. That should be respected. But we still hope that many of the next generation will find their career with us.”

Tharawat Magazine, Issue 19, 2013