Amedeo Scognamiglio

A world-famous, talented jewellery designer, Amedeo Scognamiglio is already popular among celebs the likes of Spike Lee, Rihanna, Sarah Jessica Parker, Elton John with his AMEDEO brand - and he keeps looking ahead.

You grew up in Torre del Greco, a worldrenowned cradle of unique craftsmanship, and your family business is one of the most prestigious international companies in the coral and cameo sector. Have you ever felt that the jewellery industry was meant to be your destiny?

«Being born in Torre del Greco and being raised in a family that has been making cameos and coral jewellery for six generations has not only greatly influenced my life choices, but it has been the driving force and a key opportunity to start a creative journey that has led to enhancing luxury around the world. I ‘absorbed’ the trade from birth, almost by osmosis. Then from my early teens I started working in the family company. I learned every aspect of the business and attended international trade fairs in NYC, Basel and Tokyo with my parents. But above all, I learned the art of engraving and as a result the most authentic “face” of the craft. All this prepared me to work with Roberto Faraone Mennella years later in NYC, where we launched brands that now play a major role in the global luxury scene».

What are your fondest memories of those early years you spent in Torre del Greco?

«I fondly remember a 14-year-old Amedeo who, instead of going out with his friends on Saturday nights, preferred to go down to the workshop and spend hours and hours engraving cameos, getting lost in those shapes and in shell dust, listening to Whitney Houston on a red Japanese cassette player, a gift from dad after one of his many trips to Tokyo… The first real ‘business’ trip to NYC is also unforgettable. I went to the JA fair with my father and felt ‘grown up’ in that 3×2 metre stand, showing our beautiful cameos to the American customers, with the enthusiasm of a teenager entering the real world. It was 1986».

In AMEDEO jewellery, cameos get rid of all clichés and freely rethink the spirit of our days. What do you and your customers still find so fascinating about cameos?

«Cameos were my first love. Yet, I cannot say that it was a question of ‘genetics’, because my two siblings did not experience that same fatal attraction. I instantly fell in love not only with their artistic beauty and the end result, but also with the ancient world from which each piece was created; the craftsmen, with their stories, their dusty workshops, steel burins, and the tissue paper in which the finished cameos were kept… A small ancient world, to be preserved as a relic. This is what still motivates me to create and above all to innovate, so that this tradition can continue for the next hundred years. In terms of business and design, in a world so flattened by the mass (mass production and mass distribution) playing with a unique, handmade product without international competitors is simply exciting and offers us a huge advantage in uniqueness and originality».

How is AMEDEO jewellery made? What are the main sources of inspiration and where is it manufactured?

«All AMEDEO jewellery is created in-house in our workshop in Torre del Greco. Each piece is designed by me and made by the talented craftsmen in my team, with a focus on creativity and uniqueness. We have been committed to the revival of cameo jewellery since the foundation of the AMEDEO brand in 2006. I was already famous in NYC for the Faraone Mennella brand, but when I talked about cameos to buyers and stylist friends, I would always find some coldness and the usual answer ‘They remind me of my grandmother, they are not interesting’. And from those (humiliating) comments I found the strength and energy to break the mould, creating a super cool collection that was the aesthetic evolution of a centuries-old tradition. We left brooches and female profiles behind, giving birth to the first collection of gigantic cocktail rings with monkeys, skulls and elephants in silver and black diamonds which immediately invaded cult luxury stores such as Bergdorf Goodman, Harrods, Dover Street Market and Netaporter… and now AMEDEO jewellery is worn by the likes of Spike Lee, Rihanna, Sarah Jessica Parker and Elton John instead of… grandmothers!».

Why did you choose Capri as a location, after NYC? Was it a personal preference or is there a link with what ‘the spirit of Capri’ still represents?

«Capri was more of a choice from the heart than a business choice; I wanted to spend the summer holidays on the island as I did when I was a child, and a shop has become the perfect excuse. Now, in addition to fulfilling that purpose, the Capri shop has in fact become the soul of the brand, a flagship, a Muse».

Faraone Mennella was a resounding success, linked to big names in the film and entertainment industry. How is the brand performing?

«Faraone Mennella is now positioned at the top end of the jewellery industry: our regular artistry 057 – HUESERS customers include almost all the royal families of the Middle East, Russian oligarchs, American tycoons and Hollywood stars. The success of Faraone Mennella is due to two key factors: the unrepeatable human and creative symbiosis between Roberto Faraone Mennella and me, and New York city, which welcomed us, supported us and pushed us forward. Today I am continuing this journey alone, trying to take the brand we created and nurtured like a child to even higher levels, to pay my greatest tribute to Roberto. I believe he was one of the most talented Italian jewellery designers whose skills are recognised worldwide, unfortunately still too little in Italy. Our human and professional history will soon be told in a film, so that it can be an inspiration and an example to many young Italians».

Is it true that you are working on an NFT project? Can you tell us about it?

«The drop of the first AMEDEO NFT is planned for mid-March. The crypto community is already following me with great interest and enthusiasm, so we are sure it will be a success. Before the summer, we will open the first AMEDEO boutique in the Metaverse and then an entire AMEDEO village, inhabited by the surreal characters of my jewellery world. It will be my second revolution. With the first one, I brought cameos – previously snubbed as kitsch, old-fashioned souvenirs – to the fashion and luxury industry. With the second, a digital innovation, we will take a leap into the next dimension, from the Roman Empire to the Metaverse! Boom!»

How do you think the pandemic has changed consumers’ ways of thinking about jewellery and their ways of buying? And how can a brand cope with these changes?

«The pandemic has not changed anything: it has only emphasised and accelerated an epochal change that was already underway but many had not noticed. In particular, traditional distribution was no longer sustainable – with the whole process involving importers, distributors, agents, retailers… It was indeed obsolete. Today, thanks to social media, increasingly young consumers feel entitled and able to communicate directly with a brand, without filters or mediators. Those who fail to verticalize their business and sales channels will be cut out of the system. It is inevitable. On the other hand, the market is now much wider than what my father was targeting, for example. Today’s luxury customers are aged 16 and up; men are buying more and more jewellery, and women no longer need a husband to buy it for them. They no longer have to wait for Christmas or a wedding anniversary… And they are all much more competent, they won’t be ‘duped’: today you are either a brand, or you are nothing».


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