For over 50 years, the Italian Maison of Pomellato has provided the world with jewels that combine unique gem cuts with Avant-garde style and impeccable craftsmanship.
Pino Rabolini was born into a family of goldsmiths. In 1967, he decided to launch his own jewelry shop in Milan with a collection of prêt-à-porter (ready to wear) styles that women could don for any occasion. His idea was to make couture-style jewelry accessible to women from all walks of life.
The inspiration for Rabolini’s new shop came from the women at Milan’s Bar Jamaica in the Brera district, which was a popular gathering place for artists and performers. The Brera district has been compared to Paris’ Montmatre, a village famed for its artistic populace.
Rabolini’s line paid homage to the creative spirit of the actresses, singers, and ceramic artists he met at Bar Jamaica, who were part of the growing women’s movement toward independence that was emerging worldwide in the late 1960s.
Unlike traditional jewelers, Pomellato believed in designing jewelry for women, worn by women – and purchased by women. It was a position he held to all his days.
“I sensed that dynamic jewelry was ideal for them, things like chains, charms, and gourmette chains,” Rabolini stated. “I also understood that design, high-quality execution, and accessibility were fundamental.”
Rabolini was, in fact, perfectly positioned to help set the stage for the Contemporary Jewelry Era.
Pomellato was famous for its use of large, cabochon-cut colored gemstones and the settings that showcase these impressive gems. Pavé settings were unique in their use of gemstones that vary in size and color. Delicate openwork designs have been created using jet outlined in gold.
Each jewel exuded Pomellato’s modern vibe along with an offbeat beauty that captured the firm’s signature look.
Every step of the gold jewelry making process has been performed with respect to the skills of the goldsmiths whose heritage was instrumental in shaping Pino Rabolini. From smelting to polishing to handcrafting every link and clasp, Pomellato has taken pride in the quality of its craftsmanship.
- The Pom Pom collection was created in 2007 to celebrate Pomellato’s 40th Anniversary. The assortment included 40 pieces that were sold by appointment only at the firm’s boutiques in Paris, Milan, Monte Carlo, and New York City.
- Nudo: Circa 2001, this ring’s signature feature was a large, square-cut faceted, non-traditional gemstone such as prasiolite, lemon quartz, London Blue Topaz, or Mandarin Garnet. The Nudo collection eventually expanded to include bracelets, pendants, earrings, and a sautoir.
- Capri: A ring that displayed a trio of ceramic stones along with precious gemstones in a cluster.
- Victoria: Necklaces with religious and mystic symbols.
- Tango: A collection of hoops, circles, and links with pavé-set gemstones.
- Ritratto: A line of rings set with unusual rectangular-shaped gemstones.
- Sabbia: Pavé-set white, brown, or black diamonds over a rectangular field of yellow gold in rings, necklaces, and earrings.
- M’ama non m’ama (“He loves me, he loves me not”): Stackable, layering rings, necklaces, and bracelets with pops of color and rows of diamonds.
- Iconica: Celebrating the goldsmithing heritage of its founder, this collection combined traditional Milanese techniques with distinctive Pomellato style.
- Brera: Versatile, light, and sinuous, these pieces, themed with interlocking circles, were made to be worn in different ways. Bracelets were reversible to display diamonds; earrings served both as studs and linked drops, and a choker was designed to wear high up on the neck or as a long chain. The Brera remains an accessible collection, with the addition of updated pieces.
The Orsetto necklace made its debut in 1989. Italian for “bear cub,” Orsetto has become an integral part of the firm’s history and enjoys pride of place as Pomellato’s playful mascot.
In 1994, the firm added Dodo, a second brand that paid homage to the extinct flightless bird. The idea came from the island of Mauritius, where the Dodo once lived. Fanciful gold charms fashioned to attract younger clientele were crafted of lower karat gold.
The Rabolini family sold Pomellato in 2013 to Kering, a conglomerate that also owned luxury goods firms such as Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci, and Boucheron.
The End of an Era
Pino Rabolini passed away in 2018 at the age of 82. But his vision of women in control of their own destiny, lifestyle – and jewelry is as relevant today as it was over 50 years ago.