Fruit and vegetable faces as inspiration? It sounds ridiculous, but it’s a fact for Italian jewelry design house Mattioli, which fashioned a limited four-piece collection of 18k gold and gemstone rings created in the likeness of produce portraits by 16th-century Milanese artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo.
Licia Mattioli captures the whimsy and wonder of Arcimboldo’s oil paintings of the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II as the character of Vertumnus, the Roman god of plant life, growth, and the change of seasons, in a quartet of designs that retail for about $20,000 apiece. In painstaking detail, each fruit and vegetable from the Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring (still in the works) portrait is captured in miniscule gemstone cabochons thoughtfully arranged to re-create the famous faces.
Key account manager Yulia Yushkevich expected the styles to find permanent homes in Russia, considering Mattioli previewed the rings with great interest at Fashion’s Night Out at Tsum in Moscow in September and had Russian buyers scheduled to meet with her soon after our show appointment. “Russians love to buy bright pieces,” she explained.
For admirers who can’t nab a one-off, there is the Little Arcimboldo line of fruit and vegetable—but no faces—styles. Just three SKUs (earrings, a pendant necklace, and a ring) exist to date and start at a retail price of $2,800.
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