Issue n. 01
January 05, 2000
~~~ ARLECCHINO NEWSLETTER
~~~ A Free bi-weekly newsletter of 98 subscribers
~~~ on the discussion of topics related to
~~~ the made-in-Italy products, to the Italian way of life
~~~ and more generally to the Italian style.
~~~ supported by Studiosoft at http://www.studiosoft.it
~~~ Marco Piazzalunga, Publisher
~~~ Vol. 2, issue #1, January 05, 2000
above all, please accept my best wishes for a happy new year, hoping it will bring the
long-waited for relaunching of the Italian economy in a genuine liberalist direction and,
hence, a real change in the policies actuated by our weird government.
A special wish goes to our affectionate oversea readers, both the Italian-American
community, who are supporting us with enthousiastic hints of encouragement, and the
anglo-american people, who know very little about our country apart from the same old
jokes in the "macaroni", "spaghetti" or "pizza & mafia"
style, but who also demonstrate day after day a surprising appreciation for the quality in
the choice of the articles making up this newsletter.
We open the new year with an interesting article on the much satisfactory results achieved
in the balance of Christmas purchases, not only in the USA but also in Europe, a small but
extremely useful essay on styling with the jewels of the Victorian Era, with the
long-waited for re-opening of the Basilica di San Francesco of Assisi which has been
restored following the earthquake that damaged it, and with an attractive invitations
addressed to our readers to spend a nice Italian holiday on the Dolomites of Cortina
I wish to thank you and look forward to seeing you again by mid-January.
Your tireless moderator,
IN THIS ISSUE
New Topics on Italian/European Fine Jewelry (3)
1) Cartier's Advertising Concept Evolves
by Carrie Soucy
2) Holiday Retail Sales Stats Remain Strong
by Whyne Shorter
3) Tiffany Relaunches Its Web Site
by Teresa Novellino
New Topics on Antique & Antique European Jewelry (3)
1) Art Deco
by Susan Atterhay
2) Jewelry of the Victorian Era
by Judith S. Anderson
3) Christie's to Host First Auction Devoted to Ancient Jewelry
by Keith Barnes
New Topics on Fine Arts in Italy/Europe (3)
1) Seven New Galleries Open at Louvre
by Associated Press
2) Another Miracle for San Francesco
by Kim Williams
3) Lucio Fontana exhibition in London
by Hayward Gallery - London
New Topics on Italian style (4)
1) The Jubilee Celebration
by Anthony Parente
2) 20th Century Sophia Loren
3) Sweet and Sparkling Celebrations
by Sam Paladino
4) Fun in Cortina
by Marta Marzotto
-----====(* ITALIAN & EUROPEAN FINE JEWELRY *)====-----
Subject: Cartier's Advertising Concept Evolves
NEW YORK December 16, 1999 - Cartier is updating its advertising with a new, more graphic
The evolution has its roots in the company's 1996 campaign, which featured product and
logo only. The fresh look includes 40 images by four international photographers. The
photographs range from bold images of Cartier jewels to more whimsical shots such as two
gemstone turtles crawling through the dust.
The look falls in line with campaigns that have appealed to Cartier, other jewelry chains
and independent jewelers throughout the world. Younger consumers have been the target
audience of these and other edgy advertising techniques.
"We are thrilled to introduce a campaign that reflects the dynamic allure of
Cartier", said Cartier President and CEO Simon Critchell. "The luxury products
for which Cartier is known are in a totally new setting it's modern and whimsical. The new
ads declare the spirit of the evolving Cartier product."
The new advertising campaign will appear in fashion and lifestyle magazines, along with
business and general interest publications in the new year.
Subject: Holiday Retail Sales Stats Remain Strong
NEW YORK December 18, 1999 - Retailers across the country continue to report strong
holiday sales, with jewelry among the leading categories.
Specialty jewelers across the country reported sales gains of 11.4% for the second full
week of the holiday shopping season, according to the International Council of Shopping
Centers. Retail sales overall showed an improvement over last year which was a strong
holiday in its own right. Sales climbed more than 4% in the first 17 shopping days of the
1999 season, according to the council.
The National Retail Federation http://www.nrf.com
chalks up the strong start to a stellar year overall for sales that kicked into overdrive
in November. According to early sales reports, the NRF is revising its earlier holiday
sales forecasts of about 6% increases over last year to more than 7%, according to NRF
Chief Economist Rosalind Wells.
"We've been very busy", said Jesse Craig, Albert S. Smyth Co., an independent
jewelry store in Timonium, Md. "It seems to be stronger earlier. Normally we don't
hit big volume until the last few days, but this year, it's already strong."
Consumer confidence is evident in these soaring sales of luxury products like fine
jewelry, according to analysts.
"Jewelry is one of the only merchandise categories that is clearly tied to prosperity
and reflects consumers' confidence in the economy," said John Konarski, senior vice
president of research at the International Council of Shopping Centers.
Subject: Tiffany Relaunches Its Web Site
NEW YORK December 19, 1999 - Tiffany & Co. announced that it will relaunch its Web
site late November to sell jewelry and offer more information about the company. The
decision came at a meeting of security analysts and investors Tuesday night, company
spokesman Mark Aaron said. The site is located at http://www.tiffany.com
"We've been working on it for a good part of the year, and the question was do we
launch it before Christmas or after?" said Aaron, vice president of investor
relations. The site is scheduled to be relaunched Dec. 28, subject to final testing.
Four existing departments have been updated and redesigned on the new Web site, with the
goal of serving as customer education tools. They will include information on how to buy a
diamond, tips on caring for jewelry, biographies of Tiffany designers, financial
information and information on the company's history.
The Web site's new shopping section will include 228 products and focus primarily on
jewelry. Visitors to the site can choose from a range of renowned jewelry designs in
prices ranging from $75 to $18,000.
-------=======(* ANTIQUE & ANTIQUE JEWELRY *)=======-------
Subject: Art Deco
Art Deco was born in France in the early 1920s: classical, extravagant but with a hint of
The next phase was the Jazz Age: bright, garish, cheerful, abstract and made for the mass
And then in the 1930s there was the third phase - cool, austere, elegant, sophisticated,
stylised and essentially streamlined.
The inspiration for Art Deco came from many sources. From abstract art and sculpture, from
bright pattern making and decoration. From cinema and Hollywood, from jazz music and
*** International inspiration ***
It came from all forms of transport, especially ocean liners. And, above all else, from
the pursuit of speed and streamlining. And then there was the stylisation of animals and
the female form. Essentially decorative, popular and successful, Art Deco was very much
the style of its time. It was universal and, more important, it was international,
crossing frontiers and bringing together styles drawn from all sorts of sources.
*** A universal style ***
And the great thing, of course, was that Art Deco was for everyone. Whether you lived in a
cottage or a castle, whether you shopped at Tiffany's or Woolworth's, Art Deco was there
for you. And, of course, in a period of uncertainty the appeal of a universal modern style
was certainly understandable.
*** Escape from reality ***
The excitement of the Jazz Age was soon eclipsed by the Wall Street Crash, the Depression
that followed and the build-up to the Second World War. In this scenario Art Deco became
ever more important, providing a vital escape from the harsh realities of modern life.
Fantasy landscape, sunbursts, transatlantic travel - all the elements became vital -
hinting at a better future on the horizon.
Despite its short life framed by two world wars, Art Deco was the most original style we
have produced. Exciting, vibrant, dynamic, always surprising, it was a constant source of
inspiration to the later generations of designers whose rather tired work will see our
*** Find out more ***
There are plenty of web sites available on all aspects of Art Deco. The following are just
Illinois State University's Art Deco offers examples of Art Deco graphics, interiors and
Lattimore's Global Art Deco Directory is a directory and ezine dealing specifically with
the art deco scene in the UK. It includes a dealer directory and contacts for collectors'
The Clarice Cliff Collectors' Club features the art deco pottery designs of Clarice Cliff,
including a gallery, auctions, and information on patterns and shapes.
Subject: Jewelry of the Victorian Era
The Victorian era began in 1837 when a young Victoria ascended the throne of England. It
ended over sixty years later when Queen Victoria died in 1901. The intervening era,
spanning the last two thirds of the 19th century, was a time of epic romance, great
tragedies and unprecedented prosperity.
The jewels of the Victorian era reflected these ever changing fortunes and are usually
loosely divided into three broad periods: the Romantic, the Grand and the Late Victorian.
*** The Romantic Period (1837 to 1860) ***
The Romantic Period was a time of marital bliss and joyous family life for the young
Queen. The jewels of the period reflected a feeling of confident tranquility. Bold gold
ornaments were decorated with intricate engraving, delicate enamel work, and serpentine
designs. The jewels were often accented with seed pearls, turquoise beads and pink coral.
Naturalistic and floral motifs were common.
Most of the Romantic Period preceded the gold strikes in California and South Africa;
thus, gold was in scarce supply. The jewelers of the day worked the precious metal into
thin sheets and fine wires from which they created large, puffy jewels that were light in
weight. The goal was to get the most look from the least amount of metal.
Hair jewelry was de rigueur during the Romantic Period. Although often associated with
mourning jewelry, many pieces of hair jewelry were given as sentimental keepsakes, so that
the wearer would always be "close" to a distant friend, relation or loved one.
The beauty and intricacy of many of these fine jewels is astounding.
*** The Grand Period (1861 to 1888) ***
In 1861 Queen Victoria's beloved husband, Prince Albert, died. The Queen sank into an
extended period of deep mourning (21 years to be exact) and jewelry naturally took on
darker, more somber tones. Whitby jet, dark onyx and deep red garnets were often set in
gold jewels with black enamel tracery. The carefree glitter and ostentation of the jewels
of the Romantic Period was no longer appropriate.
During an extended period of mourning it is natural to turn towards the past. And during
the Grand Period archaeological discoveries and ancient jewels became an important source
of inspiration for jewelry designers. The many revival styles - the Etruscan, Egyptian,
Classical, Renaissance, etc. - all reflect the mid Victorian fascination with ancient
civilizations and jewelry from the past.
By the 1870's, new discoveries of silver (like the Comstock mine in Nevada in 1859) had
reduced the cost of this precious metal and silver jewelry became more affordable. An
infinite variety of beautifully engraved bangle bracelets, intricate monogram and name
brooches, sentimental lockets, and other whimsical jewels were created to serve a growing
middle market. Many of these silver baubles express sentimental themes and reflect a sense
of whimsy that is common to late Victorian jewels.
*** Late Victorian Period (1888 to 1901) ***
In the Late Victorian period people and fashion turned away from the staid somberness and
historical focus of the Grand Period. After 27 years, everyone, including the Queen, was
ready to bring the mourning period to an end. People were ready for some fun and an
element of light heartedness returned to jewelry.
A sense of whimsy and the sparkle of diamonds are defining characteristics of the jewels
of this period. A wonderful menagerie of bejeweled insects, animals, stars and crescent
moons, griffins, dragons and beautifully enameled flowers could be found in a late
Victorian lady's jewelry chest. Sporting events, leisure activities, foreign cultures
(most notably Japan) and sentimental symbols of love and good fortune were all common
themes embraced by jewelry designers of the day.
With discovery of diamonds in South Africa in 1867, the supply of diamonds greatly
increased. Late Victorian jewelers took advantage of this abundance by bedecking their
creations with a sparkling array of rose cut and Old European cut diamonds. Diamond
studded creatures, glittering star brooches, and flowers graced by diamond dew drops are
characteristic of the period.
With the death of Queen Victoria in 1901, the Victorian era sadly came to an end.
To see some wonderful examples of antique and Victorian jewelry, please visit http://www.jewelryexpert.com/catalog/cat-vict.htm
Judith S. Anderson
Gemologist, Appraiser, Designer
Subject: Christie's to Host First Auction Devoted to Ancient Jewelry
NEW YORK December 18, 1999 - On Dec. 8, Christie's hosted the first sale ever devoted
exclusively to ancient jewelry by a major international auction house. The sale featured
ancient gems and jewelry ranging in date from 2000 B.C. to 1000 A.D.
"Wearable ancient jewelry has been a highly successful component of our traditional
antiquities sales for many years, so the time seemed right to focus on this most wonderful
collecting arena", said G. Max Bernheimer, head of Christie's Antiquities Department.
Pre-auction estimates range from $3,000 to $250,000. The pieces to be sold include a gold
hairpin from the first century B.C., topped with a Corinthian capital upon which stands
the figure of Aphrodite.
------=====(* FINE ARTS IN ITALY & EUROPE *)=====------
Subject: Seven New Galleries Open at Louvre
PARIS, France December 15, 1999 - The Louvre museum ushered in the millennium Wednesday
with the opening of seven new galleries showcasing a collection of rare 19th century
treasures, including a sumptuous bedroom furniture set that belonged to King Charles X.
Located in the museum's Richelieu wing, the new galleries signal the near-completion of an
ambitious overhaul launched in the 1980s by the late President Francois Mitterrand.
The Louvre opened as a museum in 1793 in the aftermath of the French Revolution and
provided a response to a growing public demand for access to possessions amassed by
royalty since the 14th century. Today, it is one of the world's finest museums, drawing
nearly 6 million visitors a year.
The new galleries, designed by top French architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte, feature high
ceilings and wood walls that create a sleek, ultramodern setting for the ornate china,
furniture, vases, clocks and other decorative objects in bronze, silver and gold, crafted
by artists from the leading French schools.
The new space became available in the early 1990s after Finance Ministry officials
reluctantly vacated gilded offices they had occupied for decades.
Of the 175 objects on display, more than half were acquired by the Louvre in the past 15
years, said curator Anne Dion-Tenenbaum.
Many other pieces are displayed for the first time. Among them: an inlaid mosaic table top
and neo-Gothic furniture belonging to the daughter of King Louis-Philippe, Marie
d'Orleans. The furniture collection includes a folding screen, long believed to have been
destroyed in a fire.
The objects are presented chronologically, starting from the Restoration period in 1814
and ending with the July Monarchy in 1848.
Highlights include a bedroom set and oversized rug that belonged to Charles X when he
occupied the Tuileries palace, which was badly damaged in a fire in 1871 and subsequently
Subject: Another Miracle for San Francesco
ASSISI Italy, December 16, 1999 - Assisi's Basilica of San Francesco, badly damaged during
an earthquake only 800 days ago, has reopened its doors to the public. A mass was
celebrated Sunday morning to reconsecrate the main altar, after which the public was
invited inside. The miraculously swift restoration was accomplished by an army of
620 workers, technician, restorers, architects and engineers. In addition to
restoring the damaged frescoes, the campaign included reinforcing the structure of the
basilica so that it would resist future earthquakes. A new system of illumination
was also inaugurated.
Two of the damaged frescoes, depictions of San Ruffino and San Vittorino, have been almost
entirely reassembled. The greater challenge regards the frescoes that were
completely destroyed when one of the vaults collapsed. These sections were San Matteo by
Cimabue and San Girolamo by Giotto. The almost microscopic pieces of fresco were
painstakingly gathered by restorers, who are now trying to recompose them in time for
Christmas 2000. Other saints await their relocation as well, among them San
Benedetto, Domenico, Pietro, Chiara and Francesco; these are expected to be in their
proper places by Easter 2000.
The restoration revealed at least one fact that will change current ideas about
techniques. It is commonly believed that the technique of oil painting for walls
originated in England in the mid-thirteenth century, but restorers of the San Francesco
frescoes have now determined that the technique was used in the frescoes of the so-called
Maestro Oltremontano (the master from beyond the mountains).
The reopening of the basilica did not go uncriticized, as many complained that the saints
were rehoused before many of those made homeless by the quake.
Subject: Lucio Fontana exhibition in London
LONDON December 28, 1999 - Lucio Fontana was one of the most exciting and innovative
figures of post-war Italian art. From his earliest ceramic sculptures produced in the
1930s to his famous slashed and punctured canvases of the 1950s and 60s,
Fontanas raw, vigorous and often intensely beautiful works overturned the
conventions of art. Throughout his prolific career Fontana continued to extend the
boundaries of his own work, confounding expectations and provoking and amazing an
ever-growing audience. Using a rich vocabulary of material, form, colour and space,
Fontana opened up new possibilities for art and anticipated the course taken by much
contemporary art today.
This exhibition, marking the artists centenary, spans Fontanas career and
brings together over 100 of his ground-breaking sculptures and canvases. It is the most
ambitious exhibition of Fontanas work to be presented in this country and offers the
chance to discover one of the most radical artists of this century. (From Oct. 14, 1999 To
Jan. 9, 2000)
Hayward Gallery - London
-----====(* ITALIAN STYLE *)====-----
Subject: The Jubilee Celebration
ROME December 27, 1999 - The countdown has begun for the greatest celebration in the
world. A celebration that has taken years of planning and has cost millions to prepare
for. It is one that will last for little over a year with hope that it will have a lasting
impression for centuries to come. Pope John Paul II has put much thought and preparation
into this Holy Year. It has been one of his main objectives during his papacy. He hopes
this will create a new beginning for both the church and mankind.
December 24, 1999 marks the beginning of the 26th official Holy Year, which has been
called by Pope John Paul II, the Great Jubilee. It also marks the first time that a Holy
Year and a new millennium occur during the same year. It all begins with the opening of
the Holy Door during midnight mass at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. From that day on until
the closing of the doors on January 6, 2001 there will be many events and celebrations
scheduled for children, adults, and the sick. All over Italy cities and regions have
various activities for you to enjoy.
The first Jubilee was based on indulgences that were granted to pilgrims who visited Rome.
The Great Jubilee has transcended into more. It is a call to all people to unite. It is a
sign of hope that peace will exist throughout and that people will believe more strongly
in God. It plans to be a spiritual experience for everyone and one worth the pilgrimage to
Italy. Below is a list of sites you can access to find out more about the Great Jubilee.
Subject: 20th Century Sophia Loren
LONDON December 20, 1999 - Sophia Loren has been voted the "Most Beautiful Woman In
The World." Beauty product makers, Beautiko, polled over 3,000 Britons and announced
that the 65-year old legend will go down in history with the title. The question was
presented as "Which living female in the public eye deserves the title The Most
Beautiful Woman in the World?" Loren is seen here with friend Giorgio Armani at the
launch of her book celebrating her family cooking recipes which helped her achieve the
beauty that has made her famous. Runners up were #2 - 34-year old Elizabeth Hurley, #3 -
33-year old Cindy Crawford, #4 - 32-year old Julia Roberts, and #5 - 53-year old Joanna
Lumley. 59-year old Raquel Welch was seventh. A photograph of Sophia Loren will go into
Europe's largest time capsule, the Millennium Vault in Surrey, England, to represent the
trends of the 20th Century. Seems beauty transcends age, as Sophia Loren edged out rivals
half her age.
Subject: Sweet and Sparkling Celebrations
MILAN, Italy December 21, 1999 - The heart of Italian holiday festivities is a richly
spread table, resplendent with home-cooked specialties and surrounded by family and
friends. The traditional holiday lunch or dinner is followed by a festive array of
seductive desserts and sweets and is always accompanied by a sweet, sparkling wine like
Asti. At the center of this delectable display of cookies, chocolates and other
confections, reigns the noble Panettone, the traditional Italian holiday cake. While
Panettone and Asti indisputably define the Christmas meal, the combination is also enjoyed
at New Year¹s and all other festive occasions. In Italy, the marriage of sweet and
sparkling always means joyful celebration.
Subject: Fun in Cortina
CORTINA D'AMPEZZO Italy, December 23, 1999 - The Pearl of the Dolomites has never been
more beautiful, and just might be the perfect destination for your next vacation.
Nestled in a valley surrounded by spectacular mountain peaks, Cortina d'Ampezzo, known as
the "Queen of the Dolomites," is famous for its beauty and for the flood of
tourists it attracts in winter and summer alike.
The town's inhabitants number only about seven thousand, but during the high seasons, and
particularly over the Christmas holidays, the number of visitors lodged in Cortina's
luxury hotels, bed-and-breakfasts and fairy-tale chalets reaches about forty thousand. The
enchanting atmosphere and magic of Cortina is such that it has become an international
capital for fashionable winter tourism, a kind of Dolce Vita set amidst snow and mountains
instead of fountains and historic palazzi.
Every year the paparazzi and correspondents for various international weeklies lie in wait
outside of Cortina's hotels, exclusive cafés and fashionable clubs, snapping pictures of
celebrities with their latest love interests or recuperating from their latest round of
cosmetic surgery. However, although it makes its living off of high society, Cortina is
much more than a showcase for famous faces. It offers an infinite variety of winter
sports, a myriad of boutiques perfect for indulging in shopping sprees, or simply a
perfect opportunity to get some sun while enjoying the unique and breathtaking panorama of
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