Prepare for people to grab your hand in checkout lines and restaurants when you wear one of Franco Pianegonda’s gemstone rings. The unorthodox shapes! The bold colors! The innovative use of materials! Let’s just say Pianegonda’s jewelry designs are anything but conventional. And here’s your chance to meet him, South Florida. In town to preview his Fall 2011 Collection, we chatted up the illustrious Vicenza, Italy-based jeweler who will be making an open-to-the-public personal appearance at the franco PIANEGONDA Boutique in Aventura Mall on Wednesday, August 24 from 6 to 8 p.m. The 38-year-old designer dished on Miami’s best-kept secret, muses and more.
What do you love most about Miami? The good energy and lush scenery are a source of constant inspiration. I love that Miami is such a thriving representation of the Latin culture. My mother is from Spain and I was raised speaking Spanish as well as Italian.
Describe your design aesthetic for those not-in-the-know: La Maison franco PIANEGONDA is a luxury Italian jewelry brand renowned for innovative designs. It features rodiated .925 sterling silver combined with natural elements, including 18-karat gold, buffalo tusk, diamonds, gemstones and natural river pearls.
Which celebs covet your creations? The brand is a favorite of fashion-forward celebrities including Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, Sienna Miller, Alicia Keys, Usher, Enrique Iglesias, Marc Anthony and Sharon Stone.
What is the inspiration behind the Fall 2011 collection? My muse is a powerful woman who uses her strong personality to express her elegance and sensuality in all situations, regardless of how turbulent the modern world may be. In my Pearl of Water Collection ring, there is a large pearl in the center, which symbolizes life — very solid yet elegant and sensual. At the same time, it’s the center of life’s turbulences, emphasized by the circles of silver surrounding it. I use a lot of symbolism in my designs.
If you weren't a jewelry designer, what would you be? An architect.
What is your guilty pleasure? French fries — the thinner and crispier, the better.
What is Miami's best-kept secret? Panizza Bistro — a tiny Argentine breakfast spot in South Beach where I have a freshly baked croissant and cappuccino whenever I’m in town.
Tell us a secret about you that most people don't know: I love my clothing worn in. In fact, my wife is always trying to throw out my favorite t-shirts because they aren’t new and perfect. There’s something very comforting about wearing something I’ve owned for a long time.