Have you noticed how all the best gift catalogs this season are featuring vintage pins and glittering brooches? Perhaps this season we need help to feel merry and bright, and this fabulous pin from Annarita Vitali’s Bologna studio is just the thing. It’s the most fun piece of costume jewelry I have ever worn. I’ve put it on a shaggy sweater paired with comfy denims, and worn to it to a gala event in Chicago, pinned upside-down on a satin evening shrug. Watching heads turn and graciously accepting compliments was part of the fun, of course.
Created especially for Traditional Home readers by Italian jewelry designer and historian Annarita Vitali, this carefully crafted bouquet is entirely handmade by her and her daughter Chiara at their studio boutique in Bologna. Each palm-sized, floral spray is made of copper and brass wire stems and paper-thin metal leaves gathered into a bunch, which is then galvanized to give the piece its glittery gold finish.
Text: Ethne Clarke
Annarita, whose jewelry has been featured in Italian Vogue and French Elle, and is widely collected in Europe, then works her magic, applying the little "flowers," clusters of tiny ersatz diamonds, and larger crystals and beads. "These include a large half pearl of Bohemian crystal dating from the 1950s—chiaro di luna," says Annarita, "the color of moonlight.
"Also, I have used an elongated rhinestone triangle of Czechoslovakian origin from the 1930s, and small plastic flowers that we hand-tint and tip with little beads of enamel paint. All of these come from my old stock dating back to the 1930s-50s."
Annarita’s designs all involve delicate handwork, glass beads, faux pearls and a bold, refreshing take on what women like to wear. As Annarita says, "It takes a long time, much attention to detail, and love of the material to fashion my jewelry. And this bouquet—poco incline al romanticismo e ai sentimenti delicati (a little inclined to romanticism and to delicate sentiments)—represents our desire for relaxed elegance." And elegance, as we all know, transcends time.
Annarita, Chiara, and Ethne Clarke met in Florence in October to plan new offers for Traditional Home readers. Visit Ethne’s blog  to read more about her trip.