This association is at the same time an observatory on style, an inspiration for designers, an organiser of events and a creator of content.
We interviewed Marina Valli, President of Officine di Talenti Preziosi, a non-profit association operating in Rome to promote and disseminate the culture of jewellery and fashion accessories through training, research and collaboration with designers, craftsmen and operators in the sector.
"My career path,' Marina explains, 'began as a designer at the Bvlgari company and continued at the Accademia Costume di Moda where I am currently coordinating a Master's degree in jewellery and accessory design. I have always dealt with training and wanted to create a bridge between school and work, between the world of education and the business world. That is why I founded the Precious Talent Workshops in 2013. We are in Rome but we are expanding at the moment and members from other regions are coming in. We do exhibition events based on a common theme. In particular, I am the president and discuss things together with the vice-president Gioia Capolei. We did not stop even during the pandemic.
The Association's projects are many and varied: "In 2019 we started with an innovative project on sustainability, then we worked on an "Oasis and New Landings" project related to pandemic issues. The next event will be called, I anticipate, Reset. What our members will propose remains to be seen. We will present it in July. Teamwork is very important: "In these difficult times people are feeling confused and working together and comparing notes helps to understand where we are going and what the new collections will be. We have designers and goldsmiths. Comparison is essential. Like all sectors, we are resetting ourselves to look at future goals.
Sustainability remains one of the corner-stones for work in the world of designers who belong to the Association: Sustainability is understood both in terms of metal traceability and the use of alternative materials," Marina explains. "As far as metal recovery is concerned, we have an important industry in Arezzo that supported us during a project presented at AltaRoma: the material they use is recovered from computers, which are no longer in use, for example: I myself choose alternative materials, such as fabric derived from pineapples, while another partner works on the topic of apple peels. We took a course on sustainable plastics. I think it is also important to study new ways beyond metals and precious stones. We have taken into account both classical and alternative materials.
The Association is a staple that builds on solid Italian tradition and looks to the future: "We aim to make ourselves known more and more as an association," Marina explains. "Within the association we look at the past, for example I also show my father's work as a designer at Bvlgari from '45 to '90, but I always look to the future. Now we are about 40 designers but we are growing. The Nobil Collegio Sant'Eligio University, which is important for goldsmiths, also joined us. We will run the next project together with them and will examine new processing techniques together. The reality of the fashion industry anticipates changes. Jewellery, which used to be a topic in its own right in the 1940s and 1950s, now follows in the footsteps of fashion. Fashion is a stimulus to create. But it is us, it is Italy, that must build a force. Future projects must be built focusing on young people. And small organised entities can serve as a model for more and more structured projects”. "Looking outside Italy, among the most interesting countries for the sector are France, which has built an important jewellery history, and England which does a lot of research in terms of technologies and schools in the sector," Marina says. "Italy initially bought designs in France in the 1950s, and then some big brands started to get designers to work with them to produce original shapes". Italy has an important history and a very strong tradition: "For this reason, we are working to make an exhibition in Rome. But we need supporters, if there are any patrons, who will become our supporters in the execution of an exhibition on jewellery design. The association has costs and some members have become supporting members. An EXHIBITION-MUSEUM remains our dream.
But what do designers need today to grow? How do you promote? "Today you have to make people understand the difference of the product in its design and manufacture, through information that must be fascinating. The difference between those who make jewellery ‘as a hobby’ is that experience and design contribute to building consistent quality over time,’ Marina observes. ‘In this sense, our association promotes on-line refresher courses that are dedicated in particular to jewellery design and alternative materials, and we create contacts and cooperation between various professionals in the sector. In addition, the topics cover also the development of TREND LINES, ranging from classical materials and techniques to 3D manufacturing”.