Interview with Francesca Quartieri, winner of the “Donna Jewel x GemGenève Award”

The “Donna Jewel x GemGenève” project arises from the desire to give voice to creativity, culture, and self-expression through the art of jewelry. The goldsmith’s art thus becomes a language of freedom and universal innovation. Under the Creative Direction of Laura Inghirami, the students from the “High Technician for the Production of High-Quality Made in Italy goldsmith products – ITS class II” from the Galdus School of Milano (academic year 2023/24) celebrate the excellence of “Made in Italy” in GemGenève, as they represent the future of Italian art. The project, at its second edition, sees an exhibition curated by Laura Inghirami, Donna Jewel, and GemGenève.

Francesca Quartieri and Laura Inghirami at GemGenève November 2023. Photo credit: András Barta

Francesca, how did your passion for jewelry come about?

My passion for jewelry developed when I was attending art high school, and it arose from a Plastic Disciplines project for school-work alternation. The Professor had proposed designing a ring with the lost wax casting technique, and then subsequently making it in silver. Although the design of the jewel was relatively simple, the creative process, which included the graphic design up to the physical realization in silver, was the object of great satisfaction.

What made you decide to study goldsmithing?

My interest in jewelry endured after graduating from high school, so I searched for an academic path that would allow me to pursue this profession. I was impressed by the courses offered at the Galdus School in Milan during their Open Day, as they would have granted me the right training to become a goldsmith.

What does “Astrea” represent to you?

“Astrea” is inspired by the lotus flower, a symbol of pure soul in Japanese culture. Furthermore, the lotus’ ability to grow from mud is an emblematic representation of “rebirth” in a world plagued by impurities. As the petals of the lotus flower emerge from the depths of adversity, so too can individuals who strive to make our world better.

“Astrea”, the piece of jewelry created by Francesca Quartieri, winner of the second edition of “Donna Jewel x GemGenève” award. Photo credit: András Barta

How did you feel when you won the “Donna Jewel x GemGenève Award”?

Being named winner of this year’s Donna Jewel x GemGenève Award has been an incredible honor, considering the time and effort I dedicated to this project. I am still thrilled and satisfied with my achievement.

How was the experience of waiting and then making the jewel before GemGenève?

 “Donna Jewel x GemGenève” was the first project in which I had the opportunity to follow the design of one of my creations: from the creative briefing to the physical realization, finally culminating with the exhibition of the jewel to a vast and international audience. The experience was challenging, especially in coordinating the timing, reconciling all the steps of creation, and the functioning of the mechanism that allows the movement of the petals. The contribution of the teachers of the Galdus School and Laura Inghirami was fundamental in allowing me to overcome the difficulties and give a profound meaning to “Astrea”.

From left to right: Mathieu Dekeukelaire, Director of GemGenève, Francesca Quartieri, and Nadège Totah, member of the Board of Directors of GemGenève. Photo credit: András Barta

How was your adventure at GemGenève?

Participating in GemGenève was a significant and constructive experience, which allowed me to meet artisans and other professionals in the goldsmith sector from an international scene. Being able to take part in the fair was a stimulating opportunity, which gave me new goals for the future. Finally, being able to display the “Astrea” jewel and share its meaning with experts in the goldsmith sector made the experience even more rewarding.

To whom do you dedicate this Award?

I dedicate the victory to my parents, who proved to be a source of great support, showing great trust in me.

What advice do you have for people who still don’t know how to approach this industry? How did you figure out your own path? 

 I suggest testing different opportunities, and always putting effort in anything you do, to develop a full appreciation for it. Regarding myself, I believe I have found my vocation, as time passes in the blink of an eye, whenever I sit at the workbench, crafting a jewel.

Where do you aspire to be 10 years from now?

Given the many areas within the jewelry business, I would say my goal over the next ten years is to acquire a variety of expertise in the field.  I am still uncertain as to what the future may bring, but I ultimately aspire to run my own creative business.

“Donna Jewel x GemGenève”, awarding ceremony at GemGenève November 2023. Photo credit: András Barta