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For Francesca Villa, an insatiable wanderlust results in a collection of unusual objets trouvés that she finds along the way. Anything from vintage Venetian beads, antique French glass buttons, or a rare talisman from Mali can form the basis of a ring, necklace or bracelet in her eponymous fine jewellery collection.
By framing curios such as the vintage toy soldier trinkets that she found in a Parisian flea market into a pair of 18k rose gold hoop earrings, or setting a pin from an American electoral campaign into the heart of a ring and adding precious metals and gemstones around it, she gives each treasure new life as well as its own unique story to tell.
Born in Liguria, which sits on Italy’s north-western coast, Francesca’s love of travel was sparked by the stories her seafaring great-grandfather who would tell of his journeys around the world. But it was her Italian grandmother whom she credits for first introducing her to the notion of bespoke jewellery. The story goes that a young Francesca would often accompany her to collect specially commissioned pieces from local goldsmiths and artisans in the area around where they lived.
Francesca went on to study literature at university and then enrolled in courses in gemmology and jewellery design before cutting her teeth designing jewellery for international brands and fashion houses. The launch of her own brand in 2007 came from a desire to pursue a more experimental line as a designer. After relocating to Milan and then Rome, she settled in Solonghello, a village in the Piedmont hills, to allow her to give her full focus to jewellery making.
Undoubtedly, this jeweller, with a magpie eye for all things bright and beautiful, has a story to tell about each and every piece she crafts, as will generations of wearers to come.