Jewelers and Pets: Garavelli’s Elisabetta Molina and Her Italian Animal Retreat

A jewelry designer’s oversize gold jewelry is dwarfed only by her love of rescued animals

To look at the blinged-out, fashion-forward, in-your-face karat-gold jewels of Elisabetta Molina of Garavelli, you’d never know what a quiet animal lover she really is. In reality, the company principal’s home outside of Valenza, Italy, is a small zoo of sorts, complete with 10 Irish wolfhounds, a miniature Shetland pony, peacocks, a cat, and Guinea pigs. Human companions, her two teenage daughters and a husband, live there as well.

She and her husband, Luca, always knew they wanted dogs, and found their favorite breed at a dog show in Europe years ago. The couple adopted their first Irish wolfhound from friends, eventually deciding to breed the dogs themselves. (At press time, Molina was taking a break from breeding to focus on Garavelli.) Molina also grew up with horses, another love that she has passed on to her kids, who both now ride as well.

As for the rest of the animals—how does one go about bringing home majestic birds and a miniature pony?—Molina maintains that her family’s adoration of animals ensures any in need of a home have one at their roomy country retreat. Most are rescues—the pony was unable to perform a duty pulling carts, so Molina took him in, and a cat wandered into her kitchen several summers ago and never left—so that’s how Molina’s house filled up with animals and turned into a quasi-zoo.

Asked from where this love of animals originates, Molina says it is her mother’s doing. “My mother was very fond of animals, especially horses,” she says. “I think we all got that from her. But it wasn’t told or taught, it’s something we felt. How can we explain to people something we do not understand ourselves?”


Molina’s daughter Ginevera with their rescued miniature Shetland pony


Daugher Lucrezia with the pony


Husband Luca with the family’s pack of Irish wolfhounds 


Some of Molina’s beloved dogs at their family home

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