Everlasting bonds: A conversation with Atelier VM

vor 2 years

Eternity, bonds, connections that last for a lifetime exist.

I have not a single doubt of this. And I am not talking about connections based on relations we are naturally born into. However, I see problems in how most of us picture them to be.

They seem terribly perfect, so much that they take away the air to breath. I have a really strange fear of wedding rings and I feel that often times, we are not much focussed on romantic relationships. Why not celebrating the bonds that warm up your heart, that give you wings and the strength you need to fly? I think the pandemic shed a light on a lot of aspects in our social lives and made us understand which people we need and really want in our life. Last september, I was running around in Milan for fashion week when the Italien jewelry brand Atelier VM, founded in1998  by the two gorgeous women Marta Caffarelli and Viola Naj Oleari, reached out and invited me to discover L’Essenziale, the very first bracelet in the history of jewelry-making, welded directly onto the body, introduced by Atelier VM in 2014. It welds relationships directly onto wrists through a gold tread. How beautiful is that? The core material used for this is a 18kt and 9kt ethical gold. You can choose between a bracelet, a necklace or a ring in either yellow, rose or white gold, in a small (love!) medium or maxi chain. L’Essenziale  – and I can speak from my own experience, is truly a human interaction, a welded love, a celebration of unions. Thus it comes to no surprise that people started to line up infront of the Milan store during the beginning of the pandemic to set a symbol of an everlasting bond with their beloved ones to wear everyday on their bodies. I spoke to the two founders about their magic work.

Fräulein: Describe L’ Essenziale in 3 words.
Atelier VM: An everlasting bond. A jewel that tells a story. A promise of devoted love 

Give me a sentence that expresses eternity for you.
„The circular shape of rings and bracelets, refers to the circularity of the eternal and remains despite human transience”; Wendy Doniger – The Ring of Truth. 

Your favorite quote about love?
“Loving kindness is a safe abode in which to stop the heart to defend it from emotional storms and instability”; Chandra Livia Candiani – Questo immenso non sapere

What is the mission of Atelier VM?
Viola: I like to immagine that Atelier VM is represented like the passage of a comet, who leaves a trail of light and wondrous feelings. 

Marta: We have been working for over two decades in the world of jewelry, while maintaining an “outsider-like” position which has allowed us to keep an authentic and original spirit, out of the rigid and fixed canons of classical jewelry. It has also given us the opportunity, both in terms of creativity and positioning on the market, to wander more freely. Moreover, it allowed us to design in 2014 a completely new jewel that never existed before, essential and revolutionary in the same time. This is the vision that we preserve and esteem, distinguishing ourselves from the competitors as it is even more difficult to copy a simple concept (apparently on the first glance but not actually) instead of a complicated one. Because the thought, the care and the all-around story behind each of our small precious pieces prevail the secret of our alchemy which is both the principle and the goal.

How did you come up with these ideas and visions?
Viola: „I’m traveling with a suitcase full of gifts!“ was a phrase that my dad would always say to me when I was feeling blue when he was away. In my creativity I draw on my experiences and transform them into jewels. 

What has been the biggest challenge for you so far, maybe the most unexpected thing that has happened so far?
Marta: The biggest difficulty for us is always the one we are facing in the present, the ultimate challenge. Those that we have passed, seeming first an impossible climb, once reached the top, become new treasures which we preserve and learn from. The most unexpected thing is also, I think, the one that gives you the most hope: being able to surpass challenges in our own way even though we “were told” this could be done only in another manner. 

Let’s talk about jewelry. Do you have a family jewelry piece, something you have inherited?
Marta: From my beloved mother I inherited two precious jewels: I always wear – transformed into a necklace –  the watch chain which in turn belonged to my grandfather and her entire library, because books, like the purest gold, are the most precious treasures we have. 

Beautiful. What does jewelry mean to you personally? What does it express for you that other more material objects cannot?
Marta: A jewel, more than any other object, lends itself to being a memory, a promise and a symbol.

What is your very own, personal favorite among your pieces and why?
Viola: I’m tied to all my jewels as they each represent an emotion or memory that is very dear to me. But overall I guess I would have to say the “ideal engagement ring”, as I like to call it. The exchange of an engagement ring which bears the marks of your finger prints become the ultimate gesture of promise. That’s what gave life to the “Impronta“ Ring. The seal of this chevalier is engraved with the faithful lines of your loved one’s thumb and becomes a true a one of a kind piece. The symbol of your family’s crest is the crest of your loved one. 

How do you start designing a jewelry piece?
Viola: At the beginning of the creative process, sometimes there is an urge to fill something, to respond with a precious object to an inner voice that speaks a sensitivity. Other times I am fascinated by a poem, a dialogue in a movie, a wise word, a movement of a person… I translate this infatuation into a creative process. It may also be something simple like a stone telling me how it wants to be presented or at other times, I still observe the different trends of the moment and follow my intuition. The refinement, the lightness and elegance are the structures of my creative thoughts. Love, most of all amazes me and excites me to create; a jewel carries my voice and gives voice to common emotions. 

Where does your ethical gold come from?
The core material used by Atelier VM is 18 kt and 9kt ethical gold (Responsible Jewelry Council). In addition, careful research and attention has been devoted to sourcing precious and semi-precious stones by specialized and certified businesses, as well as to the selection of the most delicate chains, another distinctive aspect of the brand.

Who would be your dream collaborator?

What are your professional and personal goals for 2022?
The goal for Atelier VM is to remain true to itself: That is to preserve the original soul and at the same time continue to be innovative. The consolidation of the brand internationally is our priority in order to be recognized as a reference point in the culture of jewellery.

Your message to all women?
„Wear a talisman and trust in your destiny. Bon Voyage.” These are the words that accompany each of our jewels.


Interview Sina Braetz

Picture courtesy of Atelier VM

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