MILAN–Ancient Greek coins, some as old as 323 BC, etched with the bust of Alexander the Great, Artemis, Hercules and Romulus and Remus suckling at the teat of the She Wolf, are just a few artifacts that 27-year-old Benedetta Dubini has embedded into the gold and silver settings of her collection.
Both a jewelry designer and a treasure hunter, Dubini buys the coins, often corroded by millennia of dust and rain, through a trusted antique coin dealer based in London.
BACO: What is your background and how do your origins impact your brand?
BD: “I love Rome from an emotional and inspirational standpoint. Rome is beautiful and rich with cultural input. It’s the Eternal City that never ceases to inspire. My mother was a photographer and a jewelry designer, but I fell in love with this job at Saint Martins, during the sculpture course. Jewelry is like that. It is like a miniature sculpture. That’s why I started.”
BACO: You like to travel, as your parents did. Is that reflected in your jewelry?
BD: “Yes. When you wear a piece of jewelry you are really wearing something that is a piece of history. It’s amazing when you think about the journey of the coin. The coin is precious itself, before it becomes a jewel. And every coin has a reverse side, with its own story. The Empire collection is based on old coins. The particularity of my design is how I set the coin in a metal (gold or silver) structure, which is enriched with precious stones.”
BACO:Every piece has its story? How so?
BD: “I like to think a piece of jewelry becomes something to start a conversation with. These are unique pieces and are something I make bespoke. You can choose the stones you want embedded in the setting, and you can really customize it. I like to join old with modern, creating timeless pieces.”
BACO: Which kind of stones and metals do you work with?
BD: “Basically I use gold and silver for the structure and to ensconce a bronze or sterling silver coin. I never clean the old coins too much. I like to leave a layer of patina to tell the coin’s story. I don’t like a shiny effect. I like to use stones already used in the past: moon stones, garnet, peridot, topaz, amethyst, citrine. To enrich the jewels, like the pendants for example, I use bullet cabochon.”
BACO: Tell me about the iconic pieces.
BD: “There is the Alexander the Great ring made with 18k yellow gold and a sterling silver coin, then there is the Alexander the Great medallion and the Punta di Diamante rings both in yellow gold with bullet cabochon stones or the Empress cuff with milky quartz, lemon quartz and smoky quartz.”
BACO: And your new collection?
BD: “The Theodora collection will be ready for the end of April and will be inspired by the Byzantine Empress. In this new collection I’m using more diamonds, aquamarine, sapphire, ruby and tourmaline.”
BACO: What does your brand symbol mean?
BD: “My symbol is the circle and is recurrent in ancient Roman history. It means infinite, and it was designed by Luca de Salvia, the same designer who made the Bottega Veneta logo.”
BACO: You live in London. Where is your production?
BD: “The headquarters are in London, but the studio and the artisans I work with are in Rome, and the entire collection is made in Italy. People who see and touch the jewels, recognize the Italian manufacturing.”
BACO: What markets are you focusing on?
BD: “I have a lot of interest in the US, and I’m looking to Dubai. I want to travel a lot to share the collection.”
PRICE RANGE: 500-7000 GBP
WHERE TO BUY: www.dubini.co.uk