Jewelry designer Luna Scamuzzi feels each piece take shape as a new experience and work of art. Though she does not consciously draw on her background as an architect, her work is both very architectural and organic. Born and raised in Milan, Luna’s aesthetic was also influenced by nature and the sea during childhood time spent in Sardinia. She and husband Paolo took the unconventional approach of naming their company, Lucifer vir Honestus, after the first medieval jeweler in Milan. With her love of each unique stone and with her quintessentially Italian passion for shape, color and design, Luna creates luminous little masterpieces of timeless beauty.
I understand your background was in residential architecture prior to launching your jewelry line. Tell me about your work and your aesthetic in architecture, and how this experience influences your jewelry designs.
I don’t know exactly in which way my previous work as an architect has influenced my jewelry design work. For sure a passion for shapes, materials, design, and art has been the basis for what I think and what I make and who I am and what I represent.
Your designs have a very organic quality to them, with many pieces evoking images of flowers or even of sea creatures. What inspires particular designs or your overall aesthetic?
There is nothing specific that inspires me. When I work on jewelry, I only try to make something that satisfies me in an aesthetic sense — it’s a sort of new experience I try to make. Something in which I feel totally free to make as I feel.
I love that your pieces balance masculine and feminine qualities — for example, they are both architectural and organic, bold and delicate. Is there a conscious balancing act you play in your designs?
No, it’s an aesthetic sense I have inside.
You and partner Paolo Mandelli named your company after Lucifer vir Honestus, the first jewelry maker in medieval Milan. In a business where most designers are just trying to build name recognition, what inspired you to take this name for your design house?
My husband Paolo and I were working on our degree in architecture, and we casually found this name in one of Milanese archives. When we started to do this work, we instinctually thought on this magic name we had found. It’s like our destiny…
Italian culture has such a strong love and reverence for beauty and art. Tell me about your childhood growing up in Milan and any particular memories you feel shaped your design sense or sparked your interest in art.
My father is an architect, and he and my mother loved design and particular objects. I love wild nature. During my childhood, I spent 3-4 months a year in Sardinia, when there was nothing there. Only nature and sea. I think this has influenced my aesthetic sense. I think we have it inside, and we just have to find the way to express this. I’m very lucky, because I’ve found it.
What stones and metals do you prefer to work with, and to what degree does the particular gemstone you’re working with influence each design?
I love to work with rose gold and black gold. I love many different stones. It’s important they have something special: color, SHAPE, carats. For example, opals can be very different — white with fire, orange, rose, green, yellow — and you can’t believe it is the same stone. It is magnificent and spectacular.
Can you tell me a bit about your process — for example, are you sketching designs first, are you collaborating with a team, and are you designing with a particular person or lifestyle in mind?
I start to sculpt the wax, sometimes choosing a stone that I would like to see and what settles and how it settles. Then we cast models. And then the goldsmith who works for us helps finish the piece. Again, I have nothing particular in mind. Just an instinctive way to feel that piece. I think it’s a way to communicate and express a part of myself. I like to show a sense of expression in my work.
I understand you use lost-wax casting to create your designs. Is each piece unique, or does your technique allow you to make multiples of the same design?
Both. Mostly pieces are one-of-a-kind because of the uniqueness of the stones. But I can reproduce other pieces, making them similar.
With Milan being one of the top fashion capitals of the world, to what extent are your designs influenced by what’s going on in fashion?
The place in which you live is a part of your way of seeing things. What we are is a mix of all our experiences and memories.
Where are you selling your jewelry line, and what are your plans for your business going forward?
We sell our line in the U.S. at Barneys New York (all of their main stores), Ylang 23 in Dallas, and some other selected stores. We are trying to grow and expand and work with clients more and more yet still be exclusive and selective. This is a very long process and takes a lot of time. People need to understand who you are and in which way you work.
What are some of your favorite things, whether they impact your work directly or just make you happy?
I’ve just had a baby, Brando Leone. He is all what I have in my mind and in my heart. This makes me very happy.
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