Under the porticoes of Piazza San Marco, the Boncompagni family has been selecting and selling jewels of great quality and beauty since the 1920s. After years of experience and training in the family jewelry store, Valeria launched her own shop in the heart of the square. Today, in her Atelier, besides representing brands and artisans who manufacture unique pieces, she exhibits her own creations made with cire perdue (lost wax process).
The path through the many phases of production is never linear: it’s indeed easy – even recommended – to be dragged along by emotions, Valeria tells us. We often start with a clear idea, and then tirelessly change it as the work evolves, only to transform it all the following day. Sometimes, on the contrary, we do not have a well-defined plan: we just heat the wax and let it take shape by itself from the fluid movements of our hands.
We are thrilled to include a great artist like Valeria in the Support [Inside] Venice initiative to ask her a few questions!
Around 2016 you discovered that with the cire perdue you could give body to your imagination, so you have started your own shop in Piazza San Marco. How did this passion sparkle?
The inspiration for the cire perdue arose from the meeting with a master who was able to “give me back” – in the form of a ring – the most joyful moment of my life: my daughter’s birth. From that moment, I realized that one day I would have loved to offer others such emotions by creating objects through lost wax process.
How do you get to the final jewel? Please describe the stages of your technique.
It starts with the creation of the wax model on which the plaster cast will then be made. It ends with the casting of the chosen metal, the finishing touches and the eventual setting of precious stones.
Those who enter your Atelier, under your guidance, can get to work immediately, becoming the “sculptors” of their own jewels. Moreover, you offer educational programs for schools. Why did you choose to share your knowledge with others? What message do you wish to convey to the youngest?
My message is like a seed which I wish everyone will eventually hand down to others. A message on the importance of hand-made creations, of craftiness: an ability which will never be replaced by machines. The importance of getting in touch with one’s own soul, to express one’s emotions by creating jewels, sculptures.
The most beautiful lesson someone imparted you in the last teaching years?
The most beautiful lesson I have received from others was seeing their excitement while working and learning.
As an artisan, you are constantly looking for inspiration, details and moments that keep your creative flame burning. In that spirit, the view you enjoy from your window is unique; after all, who wouldn’t like to look up from their desk and be able to see the most beautiful square in the world? How does the city you grew up in continue to be a source of inspiration for your work?
Venice strikes the most intimate chords of my soul; I get moved every day by observing its architecture, touching its marbles, its grandeur: a unique city forever, of inestimable value.