Since 2004, Manuela Gandini designs her jewelry collection; pieces that are pure shape exploration, contemporary items showing a strong innovation in production techniques. Manuela designs and carefully follows each production steps: the result is a mix of technology, design and detailed hand- work to reach out for a non conventional consumer. She is a nice example of how you can mix your aesthetic passion with your background, experimenting new materials and techniques in order to design jewelry that can be worn throughout the time without being influenced by trends. I met Manuela thanks to some common friends, we share the same passion for jewelry and we have approached the jewelry world in “mature” years with the understanding that it is not only an aesthetic passion but also pragmatism and methodology.
Here is a video that shows how she creates her jewelry.
You began your career in the jewelry world after specific studies and different experiences. What brought you to jewelry?
A good craftmanship and a sense of curiosity for what is around me has brought me to collect objects and to stranform them into “furtniture” for the home and the body. A private passion in opposition to my real work which is much more technical and theorical. The additional step came in a natural way: I am an IT part-time consultant so, since ten years, I design and produce my own collection Manuganda. The project is ambitious beacause I have decided to stand behind my idea of jewelry without compromise. To produce and find the right consumer is not easy. It has been a fantastic journey. Starting with my previous experience to handle difficult projets in the years, I started having a team , meet with designers and being faced to different opportunities, for istance being invited to different exhibitions.
In your collections you use innovative and special materials… somehow a bit “far away“ from the classical jewelry concept, how do you organise your research?
Designing is the most interesting part of my job and choosing materials and finding the best techniques to assemble them is the core part. Research is important as much as reading articles, visiting fairs, but sometimes I find a material by chance. For example, this summer in Sardinia, I found myself in a basalt deposit. I took a few pieces, had them cut and now I will use them for a small collection of one of a kind pieces. Different was the choice of alluminium for the modular collection COMPO: here the choice has been specific because of the metal characteristics. Once I have selected the metal, it took me six months to come to the right alloy and the production technique.
Ergonomy and “body furniture” seem to be the main pillars of your collections, how would you define your jewelry?
In three words: shape, material and project. Non conventional pieces, easy to wear, timeless.
Who is your ideal consumer?
A woman with a personal style who interprets the jewelry and doesn’t use it as a status symbol. I haven’t yet designed a men’s collection. Men typically contact me for a gift for their partner. They usually find me on internet looking for something new: they are the best customers.
Your hidden dream?
This is really a dream: produce small hence very precious collections, sell the pieces at auction and give the money to some beneficial organizations.
Where would you like your jewelry to be sold?
At retailers that like to research, that promote innovative and quality products, that are careful to Made in Italy, that are ready to risk on non well known brands.