Always dream big! – a visit to the headquarters of Alessi Domenico
Having the opportunity to see behind the scenes of the creation process for unique jewelry collections is one of the greatest joys and privileges of working in the sparkling industry. You can imagine my excitement when I found an invitation from the Alessi family in my mailbox to visit the brand’s HQ in the Italian town of Bassano del Grappa. The history of Alessi Domenico is a tale of how one man’s dream ignited a multi-generational success. Consecutive generations, consecutive “links in the chain”…
Italy is recovering from the difficult war years. Domenico Alessi decides – despite the unfavorable circumstances – to realize his business vision. In his hometown, he sets up a goldsmith’s workshop. His entrepreneurship and natural inclination to aim high lead him to subsequent successes – despite significant difficulties in sourcing materials. In 2023, at the helm of Alessi Domenico is Paolo, Domenico’s grandson, and his daughter and sons: Filippo, Alice, and Tobia. The local workshop founded in 1946 is now an international company. Much has changed, but the Alessi ethos remains the same: family, ambition, innovation.
From the beginning of the establishment and the brand, the flagship product of Alessi Domenico has been chains. This basic jewelry motif has been elevated by the Alessi family to be the main protagonist of ornate boxes. The Alessi Domenico team has been improving and modifying the chain in terms of execution and design for decades. The family passionately talks about the history and symbolism of metal braids, and the brand’s successive collections prove how creatively a seemingly basic jewelry piece can be interpreted. Among the bestsellers is the distinctive flat Valentino Chain made in yellow, white, and rose gold. “Alessi Chain looks like sun rays chained in links. However, unlike the sun, its shine never fades” – this poetic motto from Alice Alessi perfectly summarizes the phenomenon of this unique jewelry.
Behind the scenes visit
I love the atmosphere of workshops, foundries, and factories where beauty begins to emerge from mundane matter – perhaps it’s a sentiment from my sculpture faculty days. This is exactly how my visit to the Alessi Domenico headquarters began. I quickly changed my heels for sneakers to freely roam behind the scenes of the glittering world of Alessi. The hosts invited me for a private tour of the factory, where I participated, among other things, in the morning ritual of melting gold. Secret recipes allow for the mixing of gold with additions to achieve unique jewelry colors. Due to the brand’s vast scale, product production is an industrial process. The factory used about 30 tons of precious raw materials annually! However, the attention to quality and detail that I witnessed in Bassano del Grappa is comparable to traditional craftsmanship, and many elements are finished and refined by hand. I had the opportunity to watch (of course with a camera!) the creation process of jewelry from the stunning Dynasty collection – my favorite Alessi Domenico line with a diamond-encrusted chain motif.
More valuable than gold
When I thought the most exciting part was behind me, my hostess, Alice Alessi (Sales & Marketing Director and board member), invited me to her father Paolo’s office. The interior looks like a mini-museum – travel mementos, archival and contemporary family photos, a unique exhibit expressing a passion for motorcycles… When Alice put on clean white gloves and reached into the safe, I expected her to show me jewelry – perhaps archival designs from decades ago..? Instead, she took out, as she emphasized, something “more valuable than gold” – a notebook and documents authored by her great-grandfather and the founder of the family business, Domenico Alessi. Sketches, designs, notes on ideas for new chain shapes, the founding act – I will forever remember these touching souvenirs and the great tenderness with which Alice treated them. The Alessi clan are brilliant entrepreneurs and innovators. Just look at Tobia, the 20-year-old heir to the brand. Despite his young age, he heads the Research & Development department, inundating colleagues with ideas for improving processes or new jewelry lines. Domenico’s descendants are driven by ambition to perfect products, conquer new markets, and surprise customers with elaborate designs. However, their greatest strength is family ties and nurturing the ethos that the great-grandfather started in 1946. “Always dream big – that’s how we were raised” – the Alessi’s laugh.