For some, creation and design is as natural as breathing. Growing up in her goldsmith father’s atelier in Milan, Vanessa Pederzani has been surrounded by jewellery and precious gems her whole life. From the age of six, she was already melting gold, and counting diamonds and rubies was a playful pastime.
With long-standing roots in fine jewellery, there is a history that comes with the name Pederzani. The family opened a high jewellery boutique in Milan in 1947 that catered for many high-profile clients, including Italian royalty. Though Vanessa Pederzani chose to strike out and carve her own path, launching her namesake brand after studying gemology, this legacy does shape her own jewels.
“There is a weight that comes from my family name,” says Pederzani, who last year was part of London jewellery trade show IJL’s prestigious Kickstarter initiative for emerging talent and has also been the design force behind Chinese retailer Chow Tai Fook’s new bridal jewellery collection Touch that uses traceable diamonds. “I want to keep their standards in terms of quality and craftsmanship, even though my brand is not at all related to them. It influences a lot how I choose my manufacturers, and how I think about the design and proportions of my jewellery.”
A self-made designer
This is not to assume, however, that everything has come easily for Pederzani. “[The family business and I] don’t work together and my jewellery is not sold by them,” she explains. “The heaviest weight is knowing that people think that, being in my position, everything comes easily. [People assume] I am privileged, have the best contacts, and all doors will be open to me, but all the contacts I have made and the success I have won, I have done so on my own.”
In tune with her own independent spirit, Pederzani creates jewellery inspired by the strength of women from all walks of life. “Women who had to fight to get where and what they are today,” she muses. “I am talking about women who self educated themselves and got a very good job. The women who had the courage to be different and stick to their choices; who said no to the easy way and made the right decision. Women who wanted a family and [to have it all]. Women who want their strength to be seen, to be recognisable; who help other women and are happy if they succeed. They are successful women in what they define as success.”
Each Vanessa Pederzani jewellery collection is inspired by the women who will wear it. The White Queen collection is romantic and utopian in its message: a collection of 18ct gold and diamonds, moulded into snowflakes that speak to the individuality and uniqueness of womanhood. The Dangerous Kiss series has a darker and more serious purpose – it celebrates tenacity and encourages people to live by the Italian phrase mordere la vita, or ‘bite life’, which reminds us to seize all opportunities.
Modern jewels for modern women
The thoughts behind Pederzani’s collections are vast and multifaceted, displaying complex and intricate themes related to women’s struggles, but also focusing on their willingness to overcome them. Within The Dancing Scorpion collection, there is a duality of power and danger, whilst also containing a strong message of love, power and seduction.
Pederzani’s desire to change with the times and create jewellery for a younger, more international audience faced resistance from her family. “They said no,” she says. “They laughed at me. They didn’t want to change, so I did it without any help, with my own money, my own strengths, my stubbornness and positive attitude towards change.”
Striking out from her family history, Pederzani has created collections full of passion and distinctive style. The bright colours used in The Romantic Affair collection, for example, are created through the process of cataphoresis, with layers of vibrant red, blue or green coatings applied on top of 18ct gold.
A brand built on respect
Having studied gemmology before launching her brand, Pederzani sources her gemstones directly from mines in Brazil, Colombia, India and Thailand. Her expertise in this area ensures that each collection is ethically created. “I have always found extremely civilised working conditions and respect for human labour [at the mines],” she says. “I only work with trusted dealers who respect our planet and people.”
Currently, Vanessa Pederzani jewellery can be purchased direct from the designer, and in February she also took her jewels to The Jewellery Cut Live. In the future, the designer has plans to launch an e-commerce website and to have her jewels stocked in retail stores internationally.
Pondering on this point, Pederzani has a pleasingly open approach to whatever comes her way in the journey to make Vanessa Pederzani a success in its own right. “Things happen when you are ready for them,” she says. “I just go with the flow and keep thinking about new ideas.”
Jewellery designer Vanessa Pederzani
Vanessa Pederzani gold and diamond A Beautiful Warrior necklace
Vanessa Pederzani gold and diamond A Dangerous Kiss ring
A selection of white gold and diamond rings by Vanessa Pederzani
The heaviest weight is knowing that people think that, being in my position, everything comes easily. [People assume] I am privileged, have the best contacts, and all doors will be open to me, but all the contacts I have made and the success I have won, I have done so on my own
The Romantic Affair collection by Vanessa Pederzani
Gold and diamond jewels from The White Queen collection by Vanessa Pederzani>
Rings and earrings from The Dangerous Kiss collection by Vanessa Pederzani