We’ve spoken with with Mattia Cielo, the “Sky Man” behind the Mattia Cielo brand. He and Max Bonoli are responsible for the brand’s very futuristic, modern jewelry. It pushes the boundaries of design and opens up new possibilities. Incorporating ideas from aerospace to micromechanics, they truly fly high in the Italian sky…and have the engineering behind them to make it work!
Life & Personal History
Q: Let’s start at the beginning. I know you are from a family that has been in the jewelry business for a long time. Why did you decide to strike out on your own and create your own brand under your own name Mattia Cielo? A: It was 2005 and I was looking for something special for my girlfriend (now my wife). Besides big precious stones, there was nothing in the jewellery market really exciting, only replicas of old styles. Therefore I started to work on crazy ideas with Max, the best designer I’ve ever met, and we are still working and creating together. A personal need for a different source of inspiration became our full time job, and I realized I was not the only one struggling to find modern, avant-garde jewels. Q: What did you find the most difficult in deciding to go on your own and to not develop under the family brand? A: My family was very supportive; we’ve been in the business since forever! My first memory is of me sitting at the kitchen table, trying to sort precious stones by color and shape. When you live within a company, it is like having another member of the family, with its needs and desires. Great responsibilities but great successes. Q: What was it like to grow up in a “jewelry family” and what were some of the best/worst moments? A: It is not easy to live up to my father expectations. You are always the “kid”, and this is why I felt like I was compelled to doing something completely different. As a matter of fact, we sell 95% abroad, whereas my family company sells 95% in Italy. Q: When you were a young boy what did you want to do when you grew up? Did you know from the start that you would be a designer or work in the jewelry industry? Or did it just happened naturally as you got older? A: When I was a kid, I wanted to be a scientist! But I ended up studying finance at University, and I moved to the City to work in banking. I then realized that I was destined to be an entrepreneur, just like as my parents, my grandparents and most of my uncles are. Jewelry was just the natural background I felt I had to turn to. Q: Were there any events or people from your childhood that were influential on your ultimate decision to become a jewelry designer and start your own brand? A: My father’s advisors were very important for my education and training as an entrepreneur, and they helped me understand what could be the best choice for me. Having the responsibility of making the final decision is something that I always wanted to have, I need to feel aligned and true to myself. I do not want to end up being “somebody else” or being led by someone else’s decisions. Q: How did your love / obsession with jewelry begin? A: It is a destiny, a call that you must embrace. Q: What were some of the first pieces you created and what inspired you to do so? A: We were immediately intrigued by movement and industrial design applied to jewelry. We believe that is possible to revolutionize the jewelry world, taking it to the third millennium. We are Generation X, raised on Japanese Anime and US sci-fi movies. Gundam, Blade Runner, The Matrix. We love modern architects, from Gaudì to Oscar Niemeyer. Q: What does jewelry mean to you, and what do you love most about it? A: Jewels are the most human of man’s creations. They are symbolic signs of our feelings, an external message of what we are. Q: How important is jewelry for women and what does it mean to them? Is it purely materialistic, symbolic or do you believe that it has an emotional value? A: Actually there is no materialistic value in jewelry; other luxury goods, like bags and watches, have some usability value. Jewelry values only if humankind chooses it. I believe women love the uniqueness, the perfection, and the beauty of their jewels. But that it makes them crazy is why they got it. This is the point: you can enjoy wearing a dress, but you can enjoy a jewel only if you own it.
Jewelry Brand & Professional LifeQ: I know that Massimiliano Bonoli is a creative part of your team. How did you meet with him? Did you immediatety realize that he would be a great asset and partner or was this a process that took time? A: Max is a good friend who shares my same values. We understand each other immediately, and we have mutual respect for opinions and thoughts, even though they’re different from our own. You don’t become friends in a minute – a good first impression is a start, but only time and shared experiences make what we are today. Q: Describe your creative process. Who generates ideas? Do you give input to Massimiliano, vice-versa, or is it a mutual process? Are you involved in the design? How do you divide responsibilities amongst yourselves? A: We both have strong personalities, so we argue a lot. But we’re ironic about it too. The secret is mutual respect. I admire his sensitivity and he trusts my vision. Q: Your jewelry integrates the latest technology, innovative materials and futuristic design. Where you take your inspiration? A: We integrate ideas from areas outside our industry: from aerospace, micromechanics, and automation. Q: In your Philosophical Manifest you write that “jewelry is a protagonist of our times and a poet of the future”? In your jewelry creations what reflects the current times and what relates to future inspirations? A: We live in a moving Age. We move in space, globalization, time and the web. This is why our jewels “move.” Moreover, humankind – when trying to create new tools and technologies – has always been a fusion between man and machine. Our project in jewelry moves us in that direction. Q: What is the Mattia Cielo brand about? How does your personality integrate into the design of the jewelry? A: We feel that human knowledge should be a perfect mix of different areas of expertise, we feel part of this mission and we take our passion for beauty and perfection to it. Q: Can you define the woman at whom your brand – Mattia Cielo is aimed? If you can choose one person who would it be? A: cosmopolitan woman who dares to stand out and be herself to the fullest. Angelina was Max’s favorite, mine is my wife! Q: Who is your typical [client/customer]? Any names to mention? Do you meet with your clients, are you curious to get to know them personally? Why/Why not? A: I love meeting our clients, especially if they come from a far country. I love to discover new and different cultures, that you learn only by meeting their people. Q: Where do you see the opportunities for yourself as a designer and for your brand? Where would you like to grow? A: Everywhere, especially where I have not been yet, including Africa. Q: What do you think of the word “timeless” and Mattia Cielo jewelry? A: Any jewel, even the smallest one, has an aspiration to eternity. But you are truly timeless, only when you are “real.” You must but a true representation of your time if you want to be timeless.There is no compromise, there is no excuse, we do it as it has to be done. The Jewelry Market Q: What is jewelry’s place in the fashion world right now? Has this evolved, and do you think it will change in the future? A: Fashion is a trend, it changes every season. There is no true “timeless.” Real jewelry only changes with society – it’s like philosophy. The media needs news that’s fast and light, and it’s better aligned with the fashion world. Q: How do you handle the business side of your brand? Do you do everything yourself or do you have a managing partner or other arrangement? A: I handle the entire business side of the brand. Q: What do you think of the impact of the internet, especially sites like Etsy and Pinterest, on the jewelry market? Has it made design more interesting? Has it made it easier or harder for designers? How has it impacted the branding/selling process? A: High end jewelry needs to be touched, but the internet has a great impact in spreading ideas and in letting people connect. Q: Tell me what you think about the relationship between costume jewelry and fine jewelry. Do you believe that there is room to mix them or do you believe that they should remain separate? What do you think about the fact that the costume jewelry market has grown so significantly over the last few decades. A: Costume jewelry is like fashion: you buy it, you use it and then forget about it. As for fine jewelry, you own it and you take good care of it. Q: What is the most difficult thing about the jewelry market today? Anything in particular that you do not like and would change about jewelry industry? A: GIA mentality. Ladies do not buy minerals and metals, they want to own a piece of magic. Q: What do you think is the relationship between jewelry, fashion, and art? Do they all interact and if so, how? A: Art expresses a feeling, jewels a personality, and fashion a passing fancy.
Fun StuffQ: If your jewelry were an image, what would it be? A: Movie Q: If your jewelry were a person, who would it be? A: Samurai Q: If your jewelry were a place, which place would it be? A: Atlantide Q: What is your idea of perfect happiness? A: Dinner with friends. Q: What is your greatest fear? A: To lose my identity Q: What is your current state of mind? A: In search of happiness! Q: Which living person/s do you most admire? A: Agassi the man. Q: What is your greatest extravagance? A: To challenge people with tricky questions Q: What is your favorite journey ? A: The way back home. Q: What do you consider the most overrated virtue? A: Modesty, instead of humbleness Q: Which leaving person do you most despise? A: Me, when I repeat a mistake Q: What is your motto? what you keep telling yourself every day? A: Keep focused Q: What is your greatest regret? A: When I trusted the same wrong person three times Q: What or who is your greatest love of your life? A: The mother of my children Q: Which talent would you most like to have? A: 10 more centimeters for allowing me to be a better basketball player. Q: Where would you like or dream to live? A: Italy managed by Swedish politicians Q: What do you like to do in your free time? A: Sports, any sport! Q: Any other passions in your life? A: Study philosophy and civilizations. Q: What is the quality you most like in man? A: Trustfulness Q: What is the quality you most like in women? A: La joie de vivre Q: Who are your favorite heros of fiction? A: Prometeo (Haran Banjo, Thomas Crown)
Q: Jewelry designers/brands, from the past or present? A: Karl Fabergè (the real one of the 19th century, not the copies) Q: Jewelry store/s? A: Emporium in Baku (Department Store) Q: Clothing/shoes/accessories brand. Which of these brands most closely fits the idea of Mattia Cielo Jewelry? A: We love McQueen original creations, he was true to his time and we try too. Q: Artist or painting? A: Caravaggio Q: Architect? A: Oscar Neimeyer Q: Writers (Author / book)? A: Nicholas Nassim Taleb Q: Movies and directors? A: Cris Nolan & David Fincher & Danny Boyle Q: Music (name of the artist & song)? A: Freddy Mercury & Puccini Q: Places in the world (your top three)? A: St. Barth, Japan, Sardinia Q: Cities (Top three, as well as places in that city) A: NYC, Rio de Janeiro & London. Q: Are there any places to which you like to go alone? A: Kite in open see. Q: What inspires your the most (music, places, people, art, etc.)? A: People striving for innovation …