With a last name like Cielo, which according to the Italian-English dictionary, translates as ‘sky’ and ‘heaven’, it must be the reason why businessman, Mattia Cielo has successfully proven that the sky is in indeed the limit when it comes to creativity or better still, why he designs magnificent jewels that add sparkle to beautiful women like glowing heavenly bodies light up a night sky.
I met 38-year old Mattia in his flagship store on MonteNapoleone. A trim man with an adventurous streak and a quirky sense of humour, his entertaining anecdotes dotted our conversation which hopped all over the world from his visits to remote African locations, the Middle East, working in London, living in Spain and even his time spent in an Ashram in India. Once Mattia started talking, there was no stopping him – an endearing personality trait which his staff often tease him about.
An only child, born into a family of skilled jewellers and a long line of entrepreneurs traced all the way back to 16th century merchant-run Venice, Mattia was expected to take over the family business, Cielo Venezia 1270. Instead of simply grabbing the baton and running the usual course, he decided to pave and explore a new path. He identified a need for timeless, contemporary jewels and put his name to his own high-end brand launched in 2007 thus adding to the family’s existing group which previously only catered to the jewellery needs of the mass market.
By merging his degree in Finance with a love for iconic pieces of art like Tutankhamun’s golden mask and the Mona Lisa to architectural mega-structures like Rome’s colosseum and Egypt’s great pyramids that still stand tall and proud to this day, Mattia has approached jewellery design and manufacturing with the same concept while following the principles of architecture; to create unique pieces that are timeless in their versatility without ever actually becoming old-fashioned.
Mattia offered me a seat around a leather-clad table, an unexpected trend that believe it or not, extends into the block display on the walls and to the floor which I was convinced was constructed from wooden panels, until he urged me to take a closer look at the brown material beneath my feet. Mattia laughed at my disbelief and with a boyish grin, he said “it’s a bit over-the-top, but… we like it!”. He tapped the overhead cylindrical lights on and off and then went on to explain that his jewels, unlike others, are representative of this millennium in both design and production – an evolution in jewel creation. Made using high-tech advancements, it’s only fitting that these fascinating jewels are showcased in a store that’s as technologically advanced as they are.
The inspiration for his jewels are drawn from his surroundings, including nature, but due to his genius mind and keen eye, he interprets what he sees in his own unique way and creates pieces that are never mere reproductions of the real thing. Mattia says that while most jewellers cannot be too daring and are thus forced to stick to specific techniques and proven styles like elaborate chandeliers, the mere application of nature, ‘liberty‘ and ‘deco‘, a form of abstract art, he aims to break the rules by experimenting with technology and different materials – factors which are crucial to realizing movement in his pieces.
The Armadillo ring is a perfect example of a modern and feminine piece distinguished by its ergonomic ability. Mattia slid the large blue ring onto the middle finger on my right hand and I secretly hoped that it would be too tight to be removed. Bigger than I expected it to be, the ring is inspired by the hard plates on the nocturnal mammal’s body and can be opened and closed like a hand-held fan. Mattia then brought out the slithery ‘Bruco‘ neck piece which captures the essence of a caterpillar or centipede. He draped it around my neck so that I could feel the flexibility of the gold discs against my skin. Made using ball-bearing technology, balls between each connecting segment allow a coiling movement while both white gold ends are encrusted in diamonds.
With two new concepts recently added to his existing portfolio; his first wristwatch and a brand new jewellery collection for men, Mattia explains that jewellery is viewed as status symbols in most cultures around the globe for it speaks volumes about the wearer’s style, affluence and personality, and in a time when the way in which we socialize is changing – moving out of the home and towards international public gatherings – jewellery is indeed a status symbol that’s far more portable than any other.
During a short pardoned break, I observed Mattia as he struck up a conversation with a foreign couple who expressed a keen interest in another one of his ergonomic beauties, needless to say that they were clearly thrilled to be speaking directly to the creative brain behind all the glittering gold. Mattia returned to his seat and explained that even though he distributes world-wide to stores in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Bahrain, Dubai, Switzerland, and Germany, he chose to base his flagship store right here on MonteNapoleone -a truly global street. Now comfortably settled in Milan, Mattia is in awe of this tiny metropolis which he says competes with other shopping destinations at least ten times its size and according to most of his clients, who are international shoppers, MonteNapoleone is Milan.
So whether you’re a man fascinated by the technology that goes into creating these extraordinary pieces or a woman who chooses to treat herself to something truly exclusive, make a point of visiting Mattia Cielo, a pioneer in jewellery production who has dared to be different and whose works of art will stand the test of time to serve as solid evidence of the innovation of our generation and this millennium.