Jeweller in Focus: Issue. 10
2nd Week, May
Villani Jewellers, founded by Michael Villani, is an Adelaide-based family business that has paved the way forward for jewelers. Specializing in a variety of custom creations, and restorations – Michael Villani employs a variety of skills taught to him and passed down by predeceasing mentors which have shaped his skill and creativity today. This week, we explore the fine art behind this amazing jeweler and an insight into the thoughts and decisions behind a well-established jewelry business.
Along with his wife Paula, Michael Villani, and Villani jeweler has been making custom pieces of jewelry for nearly two decades. Utilizing a variety of skills and techniques, the pair understand that “each piece of jewelry had a story to tell”. The business is focused on providing the best customer service, selecting beautiful diamonds and precious gemstones to create “all styles of fine jewellery in their area of expertise”. Paula and Michael combine their knowledge of the industry and use the advantages which each brings to the table in order to progress their business to the next step, each and every time.
THE VILLANI VARIETY
Villani jewellers create a multitude of beautiful and elegant pieces of jewellery, each of which has its own individual inspirations and purposes. In terms of the design of each piece, Michael is “largely driven by the client”. He values the “vision and the emotion connected” with each individual piece of custom jewellery. From there, Michael’s experience, “skill set, and knowledge of jewellery making” allows him to guide the client in designing something which they treasure for a lifetime – and even more!
“I take significant inspiration from my mentors”. For each piece, Michael questions whether his past mentors would be proud to see the “skills, knowledge, and training” which they had provided him in use. This ensures that he “takes pride in each and every piece of jewellery that leaves the boutique”. Just knowing that he has created a special piece for a customer which will be worn for “generations to come” is something that is extremely special to him.
“There is no signature style” which Villani Jewellers adheres to, but rather, allows for the creative mindset of each customer to transport their piece into a new realm of possibility. Creating pieces that are simplistic, yet stunning, as well as highly intricate and complex, is part of the everyday challenge that Michael embraces with open arms. Michael learned his trade working in “traditional jewellery manufacturing stores”. This has exposed him to many “styles of different pieces, and people”. Sometimes even different styles emerge from the same individual. Michaels believes that restricting oneself to an individual style “limits your audience and customer base”. Additionally, this causes a reduction in the skills and knowledge which can be gained by jewellers. He “feels overjoyed” every time he completes a piece that “has challenged both [his] fundamental jewellery making knowledge, and ability to adapt the skills needed for the design”.
THE JOYS OF JEWELLERY
The Jewellery industry has been highly fulfilling for the Villani Jewellers, both in terms of achieving success, as well as improving themselves constantly. One of the memories which Michael fondly remembers is the opening of the first Villani Jewellers Studio. It was “the biggest achievement in his professional career as a jeweller”. He particularly remembers how the opening of the studio allowed him to consult and manufacture “bespoke pieces of jewellery” under his own name brand. The decision to become self-employed was one that he felt was inevitable – another reason in which he is extremely thankful for all of the mentors that have been around him supporting him.
“Villani Jewellers aspires to be the leading manufacturing jeweller in Adelaide for handmade jewellery”. A goal that Michael and Paula wish to achieve, and have every capacity to be able to do. They follow their dreams with a wholehearted love for what they do, and they themselves believe this goal is achievable. “We are always looking to be the best version of ourselves; professionally and personally”. This ideology, and continued commitment to their job and the people around them allow for the pair to experience the joys of the jewellery industry together.
Villani Jewellers also employs two workers who share the same ethos and vision. “It is essential that everyone that joins our team shares our values while they represent our brand, business, livelihood, and even community”. Villani jewellers hope to continue sharing their love for the industry with more like-minded individuals, employing more workers down the line.
VILLANI THROUGH THICK AND THIN
With over 20 years of industry experience, Michael Villani, and Villani Jewellers have faced their fair share of challenges, however, have pushed forward again and again. One example being the aspect of manufacturing, training, and education. The jewellery industry is not one that has a “how to run a jewellery business handbook”, and as such, Michael quckly learned that “life skills are learned by living life!”. He has had to find courses for training online in any areas which he needed. This process wasn’t always easy or convenient. However, by “investing time as well as money, you learn that professional development is important”.
No matter what kinds of challenges Villani has faced, the business has always remained true to its core values and beliefs. Being that their core business remains the “traditional manufacturing of jewellery”. This was an ethos that was tested, and yet still remains through the launch of the Villani retail, ready-to-wear line in 2019. Each piece was chosen meticulously by Paula. She specifically chose manufacturers and brands who fit the Villani ethos and manufacturing standards. Generally speaking, this “arm of the business” caters to gifts, and clients who cannot envisage the final product of a “bespoke, unique creation”. Just another example of the adaptability of Villani Jewellers, and their dedication to their ethos, and perfection.
A MESSAGE TO FUTURE JEWELLERS
“The jewellery industry is wonderful”. You are able to find your passions, connect with you community, and do a whole lot more. “We are involved in some of the most important moments in our clients’ lives; Engagements, Weddings, Milestone Birthdays, anniversaries, Graduations, and general celebrations!” It is important for you, as a jeweller to find your passions. “Each piece we create or sell to a client will always hold a special place in their hearts for the piece and us. We always keep this front of mind”. Further to the special occasions, we are provided with the opportunity to speak with clients from all walks of life at all different stages of life. This also applies to people in the trade who we deal with. We can make some lifelong friends and learn many lessons along the way.
In the jewellery industry within Australia, one of the good qualities of late is the willingness and openness of people to help, share, and encourage the new generation. I put myself at the older end of the younger jewellers and know first-hand that it hasn’t always been as it is now. In the past colleagues and other jewellers have kept things close to their chest as they didn’t want others to know their secrets and successes. Overall people have realised that the success of the many will make the entire industry stronger.”
Remember to explore yourselves, and follow your dreams – both within, and outside of the industry. “Motorcycle racing has been a hobby of mine for around 10 years. I enjoy getting out on the track, having a little fun, and improving my lap times. Villani Jewellers has sponsored the local racing club here in South Australia (CAFNIX) for 9 years and being part of the tight-knit community has its own rewards. On reflecting on this article/piece, I have come to realise that it’s funny how riding motorcycles and making jewellery have one fundamental detail that is the same…. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE! The practice has rewarded me with a couple of state-based class championships.”
And one final message! Never be afraid of taking on a project; if you don’t know how to do it, you’ll figure it out! This advice has pushed me as a jeweller time and time again and I’ve made some of my most memorable pieces because of it.