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The Art of Goldsmithery in Arezzo 

Unioncamere

“Antiquity, an intrinsic value and an artistic value are the virtues that make the tradition of goldsmithery in Arezzo an important sector with the realm of Italian craftsmanship”

Historical Background

The tradition of goldsmithery in the province of Arezzo dates back to the Etruscan civilisation. 

The museums found in Arezzo and its province, and in Cortona in particular, are home to considerable evidence of the Etruscan art of goldsmithery from as early as the sixth century B.C.

Artisan jewellery workshops flourished in Arezzo in the fourteenth century under the patronage of the lords in the area. This soon extended to the papacy, bringing about a specialisation in the production of religious items.

Coppa, Original Source: Eccellenze Produttive
Silver chalice with precious stones

Production

At the beginning of the eighteenth century, when the change in the landscape from agriculture to industry led to the growth of many small and medium enterprises, artisanal jewellery made in Arezzo became the most important sector in the province, along with leather and footwear.

The largest company working in the production of gold was established in 1926, giving rise to hundreds of smaller companies. Overall, the goldsmiths’ district in Arezzo is now the base for around 1200 companies with a workforce of approximately 8000 employees.

Arezzo, Italy, Hans Wild, 1946-06, From the collection of: LIFE Photo Collection
Arezzo, 1946.

The goldsmiths’ workshops in Arezzo specialise in creating unique items or small series of precious objects using artisanal techniques.

Lavorazione, Original Source: Camera di Commercio di Arezzo

The production process still follows ancient procedures carried out by hand: repoussage, engraving, piercing, precision casting or moulding.

Cintura, Original Source: Camera di Commercio di Arezzo
Working by hand

At times the help of machinery is needed, but not for the manual work that orchestrates and supports the skills and technical knowledge passed on from generation to generation.

Collana, Original Source: Camera di Commercio di Arezzo
Anello, Original Source: Camera di Commercio di Arezzo

Products Made by Goldsmiths

The works produced range from those of with high formal quality, in which the artistic value of the goldsmiths’ dexterity exceeds the value of the precious raw material, to the infinite range of jewellery, the value of which is determined by the weight of the metal, or by the calibre or purity of the precious stones used.

Anello, Original Source: Camera di Commercio di Arezzo
Fibbia, Original Source: Camera di Commercio di Arezzo
Anello, Original Source: Camera di Commercio di Arezzo
Credits: Story

Curator — Camera di Commercio di Arezzo

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not represent the views of the institutions whose collections include the featured works or of Google Arts & Culture.
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