The Italian jewellery house Pomellato, known for its colourful, avant-garde and unconventional designs has, over the years, been involved in the conservation and promotion of cultural heritage in Venice. This year has seen a resumption of its relationship with the city by supporting restoration being carried out by Venetian Heritage, an international non-profit organisation, at the landmark St Mark’s Basilica. Specifically, Pomellato is funding work to renovate the Epistle Ambo – the pulpit – and to celebrate the project, has created a capsule collection of Iconica Venezia rings showcasing the city’s artistic heritage.
The collection takes inspiration from the Epistle Ambo, made from remarkable red porphyry which, in keeping with Byzantine traditions, was a stone exclusively reserved for emperors. The Basilica, on the eastern side of St Mark’s Square, the former political and religious centre of Venice, was the ancient Doge’s Chapel until 1797 and the ambo is an important structure within the building, second only in importance to the main altar. It was from the ambo that the Doge would have attended services and addressed Venetians.
Pomellato previously supported restoration work in Venice in 2019, when the city was hit by a disastrously high tide. Among many other structural casualties throughout the city, the entire Basilica floor was damaged and the ground below the ambo was weakened. Experts recently urged work should begin immediately as the ambo, already in a precarious condition, was taking a turn for the worse. Repairs and renovation began last March and will be completed by the end of the year.
The highly skilled workmanship necessary to revive and conserve such antique and precious artefacts relies on the know-how of master artisans. In turn, the Iconica rings are a tribute to local craftsmanship, created by Pomellato’s craftsmen who themselves are part of a legacy of savoir-faire of jewels and precious metals. The rings have been created in two rose gold versions, one featuring red porpyhry and garnet, the other green porphyry with green tourmaline, and include historical design cues such as irregularly cut stones.
Vincenzo Castaldo, Pomellato’s creative director, was profoundly inspired by the centuries-old art and craftsmanship he found in the church: ‘When you enter the Basilica, you have the sensation you are walking on a carpet. The slight irregularities revealed on the floor in the mosaic composition and geometries, the small deliberately inaccurate elements, the variations in the shades of marble and the timeworn details all perfectly match up with the unmistakable experience of handmade jewellery that is Pomellato’s signature,’ he explains. ‘The variety of cuts and colours of the 1,900 gems of the Pala d’Oro altarpiece that are combined and composed in an unconventional harmonious array are the inspiration for the new Iconica rings.’
The Iconica Venezia rings are available exclusively at Pomellato’s Venice boutique at 2031 Calle Larga XXII Marzo, and can also be purchased on request; pomellato.com
By Joanne Glasbey. Joanne is the editor of Brummell magazine and a writer on watches and jewellery, and the watch editor of the Times Luxx magazine.