Master Giocondo Torrini

Master Giocondo Torrini

Born in Florence (1827-1896). A descendant of Jacopus, the founder of the homonymous Casato Orafo, the Torrini’s Lineage in the 14th century. Giocondo undoubtedly played a leading role in the Universal Expositions held in the second half of the 19th century, presenting himself with his refined goldsmith creations and his mosaics that earned him international fame, as well as prizes and mentions traced to the catalogs of the time. Giocondo took part in nine Universal Expositions: London 1851, Paris 1855, Florence 1861, London 1862, Dublin 1965, Paris 1867, London 1870, Vienna 1873 and Philadelphia 1876.

One of his sets is kept in the British Museum in London. The set is composed of a pair of earrings and a brooch from 1865 in a hard-stone Florentine Mosaic, called “commesso”.  From the heart of Florence to the temple of art in London, from the excellence of an exclusive goldsmith factory to the prestigious rooms of the British Museum. The great and rare jewels travel the roads that lead far, paths marked by artistic genius and manufacturing originality. This is the case of this splendid set of earrings and brooch depicting the Doves of Pliny.

In the 19th century, numerous private workshops re-proposed in more reduced forms the traditional Grand-Ducal repertory of Florentine mosaic made of semi-precious stones, a manufacture in which the stones had to be united in such a way that the joining lines were almost invisible. Anticipating the novelties of international decorative taste, they gave preference to small and more rapid frivolities, jewels, snuff boxes, knick-knacks, photograph frames, and less costly items.

Few artists signed their jewelry, but among the rare signatures that have been discovered, we find that Giocondo Torrini left a recognized signature. A goldsmith and a valid mosaicist who had his workshop and shop at number 6 of Lungarno Nuovo in Florence. He assimilated well beforehand the suggestions of this technique, adapting and expanding his repertory with the insertion of gold jewelry and Florentine mosaic made of hard stones that were greatly appreciated by foreigners, especially the English and the French, who wished to take home with them exceptional souvenirs of the Grand Tour.

Fashion at the time aimed at classical antiquity and among his creations there was no lack of antique inspiration. Such as cameos which during the Renaissance marked an epoch and jewelry made of soft iron that was featured in Vogue during the war periods.

His production met with considerable success and had a widespread diffusion at the European and American World Fairs, where he received numerous prizes and mentions. His jewelry bears his unmistakable engraved signature, as well as the ancient trademark the Signum of Jacopus.

The set, that has been kept by The Historic Archive of Torrini 1369 in Florence, enchanted President Grant who bought it by granting the White House emblem that Giocondo placed inside the box together with that of the Royal House of Italy. A jewel that was built in 1876 for the Universal Exhibition of Philadelphia, celebrating the Centennial of the American Declaration of Independence.

At the RISD Museum in Providence, Rhode Island, US there is one brooch of great artistic value.

The story around the Torrini 1369 Trademark continues...

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