Four generations of Italian gold artisans have built a House that exemplifies fine craftsmanship, exquisite detail, and timeless design.
Carlo Weingrill was born in Verona, Italy, in 1856. At the age of eleven, he began his apprenticeship in a goldsmith’s shop. Upon completing his training at the age of 22, he made the decision to open his own factory in 1879 in Verona.
The business flourished, and Carlo brought his two sons, Armando and Gastone, into the business. They took over upon Carlo’s death in 1924, and grew the small artisan concern into a major player in the industry, gaining worldwide prestige for their exquisite workmanship.
Upon Armando’s death in 1959, Gastone continued to carry on as head of the business.
Armando’s daughter, Paola Weingrill, was the next in line to take on the business. From the time she was a toddler, Paola was fascinated with the goldsmiths and their work. When her Uncle Gastone passed away in 1977, it was Paola who took over as chief executive officer. Paola groomed her son, Carlofilippo Mensi Weingrill, to assume the reins of the company upon her retirement. Carlofilippo is now head of the firm, representing the fourth generation to head this illustrious House.
From the beginning, the company employed goldsmiths who handcrafted their jewelry, eschewing the use of machines. Workers sat at a table molding, shining and polishing the gold to a stunning finish.
In Italy, a craftsman could become a goldsmith after apprenticing for two years, At Weingrill, apprenticeships lasted seven years. Weingrill’s goal has been to preserve their tradition of fine craftsmanship and produce wearable works of art using the finest materials, creating timeless pieces that endure for generations.
Weingrill’s finished pieces, handcrafted in 18-karat gold, featured invisible clasps for a seamless look. Heavy link chains had a smooth fit. Earrings had tight, interlocking rings. And their gooseneck necklace, a signature piece, was wound by hand from a single piece of gold, rather than being assembled from manufactured parts.
At Weingrill, gold has always been king – and queen and the royal court. Diamonds and colored gemstones have been employed sparingly.From the 1900s to the 1940s, Weingrill was famous for its curving Art Nouveau floral motifs and the geometric shapes that helped define the Art Deco period.These styles inspired pieces designed decades later, with the company’s refusal to embrace current fads instead of gathering inspiration from Weingrill’s original molds.
Carlo Weingrill is credited with being the original manufacturer of some of the most recognizable gold jewelry designs…gold cuff bracelets for Tiffany & Co., the Trinity bangle bracelet for Cartier, and, perhaps most notably, Bulgari’s tuboga-style necklaces, bracelets, and rings. The literal translation of “tuboga” is “gas pipe,” a name that describes the way the chain is formed – from a pair of interlocking gold bands tightly wrapped together. The method used to create a tuboga results in a flexible and hollow tubular piece that does not require soldering. This innovative approach was born during World War II when the scarcity of jewelry materials forced goldsmiths to reinvent their techniques for crafting fine gold chains.
Long revered for its quality, gold from Italy is a real luxury, mainly fashioned from yellow gold that is 18-karat or more. Italy produces gold that features a distinctive, warm glow. Given its illustrious history, it’s no wonder Italy has produced some of the most sought-after gold jewelry throughout the centuries.
For three thousand years, dating back to the Etruscan civilization, Italians have been producing gold jewelry. Inspired by the Egyptians and the Greeks, the population was smitten with jewelry, adorning themselves with head ornaments, diadems, hairpins, and necklaces.Conquering Roman armies captured craftsmen and artisans, bringing them home to continue their trade. This influx of talent resulted in a diversity of talent that enriched the variety and abilities of the Italian community.These original jewelers were mostly responsible for the basic jewelry-making techniques that would continue to be employed worldwide.
The alloying of metals, methods for setting gemstones, and enameling were all skills that were founded by these premier jewelers.It was left to future generations to continue to hone these skills to create beautiful, heirloom-quality gold jewelry designs.