Carolina Bucci Is the Golden Girl of Italian Fine Jewellery Design

The Florentine native designs jewellery with a unique spirit, pieces that carry a hint of la dolce vita.

In the centre of Florence, among luxury powerhouses like Emilio Pucci, Stefano Ricci, and Salvatore Ferragamo, the name Bucci is worth its weight in gold. For generations, the family has built a reputation on the high-quality craftsmanship of their classic 18-karat gold creations. Today, Carolina Bucci is broadening that illustrious legacy with her colourful, creative, eponymous line of fine jewellery.

Growing up, the fourth-generation designer spent her childhood at Villa Colombo, the Bucci family home in the bucolic hills above Florence. “Creativity was always in the air,” she shares over Zoom from her home in London. Following in her family’s footsteps was never forced upon the young designer but rather a path she found on her own. Every summer, she retreated to the beaches of Forte dei Marmi, where she wove friendship bracelets under the Tuscan sun. Even then, the budding businesswoman took the task seriously, working to make jewellery that was not only attractive but also functional and wearable. “There was always a transactional aspect,” she recalls of the small beachfront stall where she’d set up shop.


In the Woven Collection, Carolina Bucci uses a Renaissance-era textile loom to weave 18-karat gold and silk threads. The result is a collection of bracelets, rings, and scarf-inspired necklaces that feel like soft, gilded fabric on the skin.


As the daughter of a jeweller, Bucci had plenty of gioielli at her fingertips. Still, “I found it very boring and traditional,” she says of the Florentine goldsmith style. “As a teenager, I wanted to wear what my friends were wearing, which was fun costume jewellery.” With time, she persuaded her father to let her redesign some of her existing pieces to better reflect her tastes. After presenting her ideas, she would sit with the family’s craftsmen to work out how her designs could be realized. One of her earliest projects involved transforming a diamond tennis-style bracelet into four flexible rings that were meant to be stacked and layered. “I learned in a very unofficial way,” she says.


“I started using what I had and made it into what I wanted.” She explains, “In every stage, I’ve been designing what I craved or the next piece that I wanted to wear, and that’s still true today.”


Unlike her family’s traditional jewellery, Bucci’s own aesthetic has always skewed unconventional. As a child, she’d often watch her mother dress for an evening out and finish her look by carefully selecting her jewellery from the safe, located in Bucci’s bedroom. Those early observations, admiring her mother’s formal sets with their matching rings, bracelets, earrings, and necklaces, prompted Bucci to begin thinking more freely about precious yet practical pieces that could be worn from day to night and mixed and matched with ease. “I thought she looked like a princess,” she confesses, “but I wanted to break it up a bit.”



Forte Beads bracelets with Florentine Finish charms.


After graduating high school in Florence, she enrolled at Marymount Manhattan College and then studied jewellery design at the Fashion Institute of Technology, while freelancing for companies like Graff. “In New York, I found what I was looking for, which is, there are no rules,” she says. “So without New York, there is no Carolina Bucci. New York gave me the open-mindedness to know I could do anything I wanted.”

In 2003, she launched her first Lucky Collection in Manhattan, complete with grown-up versions of the childhood friendship bracelets she’d exchanged every summer on the beaches of Forte dei Marmi. In lieu of cotton strands, however, she upgraded the materials to diamond-cut chain and hand-braided silk, finished with lucky charms and instructions for the wearer to make a wish. “It was more of a trinket, summer girl thing, but in fine jewellery,” she explains. It wasn’t long before Patricia Field, the celebrated costume designer from Sex and the City, put Bucci’s Lucky bracelets on Sarah Jessica Parker. “All of a sudden, they were everywhere,” she remembers. “I was very naive and didn’t have a PR agent, but people were buying them, and I was finding out because I would open a magazine and I would see Cindy Crawford wearing a Lucky bracelet, and Halle Berry.” From her earliest days in New York through the last two decades spent living in London, Bucci’s business has been blessed with steady, organic growth. “If I said I had a plan, that’s a lie,” she admits, but she knew she wanted to evolve her family’s business into something else.



The Bucci family’s business dates to 1885, when Carolina’s great-grandfather established his workshop in Florence, repairing pocket watches and later making bespoke chains using artisanal techniques and finishes. Those techniques are what inspired Bucci to continue building upon the traditions of her family’s craftsmanship. “We were making beautiful pieces, and then we were making for other brands,” she says. “I decided, actually, we will keep that knowledge for us.”

Bucci’s current artistic process is not unlike that of her early days spent dabbling in design. Every idea is sketched out before meeting with the jeweller to decode how each piece can be made. A tiny studio at Ponte Vecchio, known as the goldsmiths’ quarter, is where the family’s workshop is and where the craftsman, Pasquale, handcrafts the pieces and sets stones. Bucci continues to be fascinated by the possibilities of gold. “There is no system, just a lot of passion,” she remarks of the boundary-breaking techniques she’s employed to manipulate her medium and achieve her desired results. “No is never an option.”




In the Woven Collection, for example, Bucci uses a Renaissance-era textile loom to masterfully weave 18-karat gold and silk threads. The result is a collection of bracelets, rings, and scarf-inspired necklaces that feel like soft, gilded fabric on the skin. Meanwhile, her Florentine Finish Collection uses a diamond-tipped tool first employed in the 19th century to create a glimmering “diamond dust” effect on the surface of golden hoops, rings, chains, and cufflinks. (Bucci has collaborated with the Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet applying the same shimmering finish to the brand’s most noteworthy model for the Royal Oak Frosted Gold.)

There’s a sprezzatura in Bucci’s designs, an unfussy wearability evident in her K.I.S.S. Collection, which was inspired by her enchantment with the inner workings of a watch. The capsule’s assortment of rings, necklaces, and bracelets stretch like elastic thanks to the intricate handling of a single 18-karat gold coil. Over the years, Bucci’s creations have captured the imaginations of women around the world who are drawn to the designer’s ability to make serious fine jewellery that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Her Studiolo Collection perfectly captures that playful panache, with its jewel-encrusted rings depicting sacred scarabs and its colourful pinwheel pendants that spin with the flick of a finger. “I still have clients who’ve been buying us from the beginning,” she says. “They’ve evolved with me. Then they have daughters who are starting their journey with us.”




While the Lucky Collection remains a popular starting point for new patrons, Bucci’s bestselling Forte Beads are another fan favourite. The mother of two drew inspiration from the nostalgic plastic beaded bracelets that her young sons made growing up. “They became a sentimental representation of our holiday time,” she shares of the beaded bangles. “I would wear them with my real jewellery, and then one day I just thought, ‘Why do I have to keep wearing plastic beads? I want to create this in real stones.’” The resulting collection features a rainbow of hard-stone beads like amethyst and yellow jade, malachite and rose quartz, all of which can be threaded and rethreaded on a range of Lurex cords.

“The Forte Beads represent every element of the last 20 years of Carolina Bucci,” she explains. In recent years, the jeweller has also launched a lifestyle publication called La Catena and introduced several craft collaborations, such as hand-blown Murano glasses, hand-chiselled Carrara marble spheres, and stationery sets printed with the historic Florentine stationer Pineider.



Much like her jewellery, the Carolina Bucci shopping experience is both whimsical and personal. Her London flagship is a jewel box in every sense, brimming with gilded accessories and glass canisters filled with technicolour Forte Beads stones. Last year, she opened a street-level storefront in Florence after a 10-year search for the perfect location. Ultimately, she found it in a 13th-century landmark palazzo along the lungarno, steps away from Ponte Vecchio. One day, she hopes to open standalone boutiques in Paris and New York, but for now, her new Downtown Collection, which debuted this spring, pays tribute to her early Manhattan memories.

“When I look at my collections, it’s like looking through picture albums, because I know exactly where I was when I designed that,” she says, wistfully. From the beaches of Forte dei Marmi to the bustling streets of New York and London and back to her native Florence, Bucci’s collective memories have been gilded and made timeless through her art.





Photography courtesy of Carolina Bucci.