Is a cultural project, the first annual exhibition dedicated to
Contemporary Jewellery in Italy


can be considered as an explorative path always in motion

Every year the artistic approach to the complex subject of jewellery is explored through a specific concept and with the selection of artists from the international scene. The project, imagined, managed and coordinated by LAO started in 2005, and has quickly become the most important Italian event devoted to contemporary jewellery

See you in 2002

Since 2005 we have almost regularly organized the PREZIOSA meeting /exhibition, which has become Florence Jewellery Week  over the years, and since 2008 we also organize the collateral PREZIOSA YOUNG competition.

In 2020 we were forced to cancel FJW, for the consequences due to the C-19. The meeting was organized down to the smallest detail, the program was very prestigious, many reservations had already been made: a serious damage to our organization and our finances.

Despite everything, we have kept the organization of the exhibition of the works selected for the PREZIOSA YOUNG 2020 competition, which will be presented in Florence, Padua and Berlin.

Along the years, all the events have been supported, organized and financed by our school, sometimes with small contributions from banking foundations, but nothing more.

Local institutions and administrations have often offered part of the locations, sometimes even free of charge, but nobody wanted to support the PREZIOSA and FJW project in a decisive way, and the Municipality of Florence has never considered the possibility of “adopt” the project by including it among the cultural events of the city.

This meant a lot of independence, but also a heavy burden for the school, which is not comparable to a company with great means to invest in collateral activities.

We have always refused to convert PREZIOSA into a commercial event, renting exhibition spaces or asking for participation fees to the artists, and we will not start doing it now.

Like all companies, the school has suffered and will still face many difficulties following the lockdown, so we must concentrate our energies on teaching activities and on the reorganization of courses.

It is therefore with great regret that we must announce the cancellation of FJW also for 2021, together with PREZIOSA YOUNG competition: the two projects will be resumed in 2022, when the general situation will allow us to plan events in total safety also from an economic and financial point of view.

In the meantime, we will work on online projects, publish materials and news on the world of jewellery, and organize small events such as exhibitions and meetings on contemporary jewellery.

The management team of LAO – Le Arti Orafe Jewellery School

ARTIST 2005 – 2020

The most important worldwide names of the research jewellery were featured, from the “fathers” of the 1950s up to the youngest generation of our day.

Jivan Astfalck, Giampaolo Babetto, Robert Baines, Gijs Bakker, Friedrich Becker, Noam Ben–Jacov, Helen Britton, David Bielander, Frédéric Braham, Sigurd Bronger, Sebastian Buescher, Peter Chang, Bifei Cao, Giovanni Corvaja, Johanna Dahm, Georg Dobler, Andi Gut, Naomi Filmer, Nora Fok, Karl Fritsch, Sophie Hanagarth, Yasuki Hiramatsu, Mari Ishikawa, Svenja John, Wang Kezhen, Nel Linssen, Suska Mackert, Kadri Mälk, Stefano Marchetti, Sally Marsland, Bruno Martinazzi, Xavier Monclús, Mimì Moscow, Eija Mustonen, Erico Nagai, Evert Nijland, Ted Noten, Renzo Pasquale, Francesco Pavan, Ruudt Peters, Mario Pinton, Annelies Planteijdt, Katja Prins, Ramón Puig Cuyàs, Mah Rana, Gerd Rothmann, Jacqueline Ryan, Philip Sajet, Marjorie Schick, Karin Seufert, Peter Skubic, Vera Siemund, Janna Syvänoja, Tanel Veenre, Graziano Visintin, Lisa Walker, David Watkins, Annamaria Zanella, Christoph Zellweger, Wang Zhenghong, Fuchi Arata, Tasso Mattar, Sibylle Umlauf, Danni Schwaag, Erik Tidäng, Lena Jerström, Tobias Birgersson, Klara Eriksson, Petronella Eriksson, Pernilla Sylwan, Giovanni Corvaja, Suk Chun Oh, Kazumi Nagano, Cóilín Ó Dubhghaill, Barbara Paganin, Sam Tho Duong, Carla Riccoboni.



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This is the list of artists who have been invited to exhibit in the PREZIOSA editions created together with Maria Cristina Bergesio, and some of the artists invited to the LAO gallery in Florence. Look carefully at this list, from which you can understand the quality of the project.

From 2004 to 2007 LAO has managed in Florence the first gallery dedicated to contemporary jewellery.
During that period, these have been the most important exhibitions, all of them curated by MCB.

- De Rebus Naturae.
The theme of nature expressed through the jewels of six European artists-goldsmiths: Xavier Ines Monclús, Susanne Klemm, Ralph Stautner, Terhi Tolvanen, Barbara Uderzo, Felieke Van Der Leest.
Catalogue curated by Maria Cristina Bergesio.

- Janna Syvänoja. Solo exhibition. Catalogue curated by Maria Cristina Bergesio.

- Harmonic Clashes in Research Jewelry: Giampaolo Babetto, Diana Dudek, Maria Rosa Franzin, Helen Britton, Karl Fritsch. Catalogue curated by Maria Cristina Bergesio.

- Nel Linssen solo exhibition. Catalogue curated by Maria Cristina Bergesio.

-Annamaria Zanella. The Jewel as a poetic construction. Solo exhibition

Giampaolo Babetto’s retrospective, Silver Museum, Pitti Palace (Florence). January 2007,

The PREZIOSA project.

PREZIOSA 2005 A new concept of preciousness. Material, source of creative inspiration.
Artists: Peter Chang, Giovanni Corvaja, Nel Linssen, Kadri Mälk, Xavier Monclús, Erico Nagai Francesco Pavan, Jacqueline Ryan, Peter Skubic, Janna Syvänoja, Annamaria Zanella.

PREZIOSA 2006, No Body decoration.
Artists: Friedrich Becker, Bruno Martinazzi, Gerd Rothmann, Gijs Bakker, Christoph Zellweger, Frédéric Braham, Ruudt Peters, Naomi Filmer, David Watkins, Marjorie Schick, Naom Ben–Jacov.

PREZIOSA 2007-08: Timetales, Jewellery as a representation of reflections on Time.
Artists: Giampaolo Babetto, Vera Siemund, Stefano Marchetti, Ramón Puig Cuyàs, Mari Ishikawa, Eija Mustonen, Jivan Astfalck, Mah Rana, Katja Prins, Tanel Veenre, Ted Noten.

PREZIOSA 2009, Cutting the mirror. An aesthetic lexicon
Artists: Mario Pinton, Yasuki Hiramatsu, Graziano Visintin, Robert Baines, Georg W. Dobler, Annelies Planteijdt, Karl Fritsch, Svenja John, David Bielander, Lisa Walker, Sally Marsland, Sebastian Buescher

PREZIOSA 2010. Dialoghi/Dialogs
Artists “Couples”:
Giampaolo Babetto/Helen Britton;
Johamma Dahm/Andi Gut;
Ruudt Peters/Evert Nijland.

PREZIOSA 2011. Monologue. Parellel worlds. Personal retrospective of Mari Ishikawa

PREZIOSA 2013. Un Certain Regard
Artists: David Bielander, Sigurd Bronger, Sophie Hanagarth, Suska Mackert, Philip Sajet, Karin Seufert

For the “PREZIOSA YOUNG” project MC has been in the jury since the very first edition. She also wrote all the text for the catalogues.
PY selected artists 2008-2019:
Sally Collins, Eva Franceschini, Sina Emrich, Fuchi Arata, Daniela Hedman, Mirjam Hiller, Vaishali Ashok Morjaria, Kathryn Partington, Claudia Rinneberg, Sonja Christine Seidl, Julia Walter, Daniel Di Caprio, Estela Vilanova Saez, Lisa Grassivaro, Nora Rochel, Pia Pasalk, Sharon Massey, Taisuke Nakada, Tamsin Leighton-Boyce, Melissa Cameron, Eve Cheryl, Yoshie Enda, Adam Grinovich, Monica Haneckova, Erin Keys, Sooyeon Kim, Sachiko Shouji, Sam Hamilton, Hanna Hedman, Lisa Juen, Heejoo Kim, Seul-Gi Kwon, Marie Pendariès, Elena Ruebel, Wan Hee Cho, Rob Elford, Benedikt Fischer, Panjapol Kulpapangkorn, Chiara Scarpitti, Antje Stolz, Lauren Vanessa Tickle, Sang Deok Han, Jie Sun, Tithi Kutchamuch, Seoyeon Lee, Fang Jin Yeh, Qian Wang, Shachar Cohen, Xiaodai Huang, Yajie Hu, Koen Jacobs, Jongseok Lim.
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Scrivere un ricordo di Maria Cristina è per me cosa molto penosa e difficile, per questo ho aspettato quasi un mese dalla sua morte.
Ho conosciuto MC, come l’ho sempre chiamata, nel 2005, quando la scuola ha aperto a Firenze la galleria dedicata al gioiello contemporaneo.
MC era venuta a visitare la mostra di Giovanni Corvaja e Jacqueline Ryan: lei conosceva Giovanni, che a sua volta me la presentò.
La scuola aveva bisogno di un nuovo docente di storia del gioiello contemporaneo, e ho capito che quella giovane e brillante storica del gioiello era una preziosissima persona, competente e entusiasta, le doti del perfetto docente.
MC collaborava già all’epoca con l’Università, per il corso della professoressa Dora Liscia Bemporad, e aveva fatto parte dello staff che con la direttrice del Museo degli Argenti aveva realizzato una mostra sul gioiello contemporaneo in Palazzo Pitti.
Il risultato dei nostri primi incontri e delle nostre conversazioni fu che MC divenne nostra docente e curatrice della galleria, oltre che consulente per la prima edizione di PREZIOSA, che era già in via di concretizzazione.
Da allora MC ha curato tutte le nostre mostre, ha scritto i testi per tutti i cataloghi, è stata una persona di riferimento per me e per tutto lo staff della scuola e del progetto PREZIOSA: una persona insostituibile, per competenza, entusiasmo, spirito critico, capacità di analisi e lucidità.
Era la persona più coerente e rigorosa tra quelle che a diverso titolo si occupano di ricerca orafa in Italia, e certamente una delle più preparate e “speciali” nel panorama europeo, solitamente così conformista. Insieme abbiamo lavorato a molti progetti, mi ha aiutato con la sua capacità di cogliere tutti gli aspetti che a me sfuggivano del tutto, sapeva dare forma e voce alle mie intuizioni nella scelta degli artisti.
Basta leggere i testi che ha scritto negli ultimi anni per i cataloghi di PREZIOSA YOUNG: una capacità unica di intercettare tutti gli aspetti salienti dei lavori di un gruppo eterogeneo di artisti, e di dare senso, contenuto e unità a quei lavori, grazie alla sua capacità analitica e alla sua originale visione.
Alcune sue selezioni di artisti per le diverse edizioni di PREZIOSA sono del tutto geniali, così come alcuni dei titoli scelti, in seguito ripresi da molti curatori per altre mostre.
Tutti ricordano come poteva essere contagioso il suo sorriso quando stava bene, o mentre si allestiva una nuova mostra.

Una serie di eventi personali, qualche anno fa l'avevano lentamente spinta verso una progressiva chiusura in se stessa, alternata da periodi di entusiasmo e intraprendenza.
Non hanno aiutato le tante delusioni arrivate dal mondo della critica artistica, che l'ha sempre tenuta ai margini, probabilmente perché lei non era incline a compromessi e era aliena a alleanze politiche, e anche per la gelosia che per assurdo la sua competenza generava in qualche persona del piccolo mondo del gioiello contemporaneo.
MC aveva progressivamente ridotto il suo impegno a scuola a poche ore settimanali, e anche la sua disponibilità per la curatela dei nostri progetti si era ridotta negli ultimi due anni a piccoli progetti collaterali. Mi diceva spesso che non aveva più energia, non aveva più la voglia di dedicarsi a un mondo che l’aveva respinta, o che lei immaginava volesse respingerla. Da qualche anno insegnava come docente di storia dell’arte in un liceo, e questa attività, che svolgeva come al solito con il massimo dell’impegno, sembrava averle restituito molta serenità.

La sua decisione di andare via è giunta inaspettata, e noi non sapremo mai cosa sia successo nel suo cuore e nella sua testa nei suoi ultimi giorni di vita.

Possiamo solo accettare il fatto che lei non è più con noi.

In memory of Maria Cristina Bergesio.
Writing a memory of Maria Cristina is very painful and difficult for me, which is why I waited almost a month after her death.
I met MC, as I always called her, in 2005, when the school opened the gallery for contemporary jewellery in Florence.
MC had come to visit the Giovanni Corvaja and Jacqueline Ryan exhibition: she knew Giovanni, who in turn introduced me to her.
The school needed a new teacher of contemporary jewellery history, and I understood that the young and brilliant historian of jewellery was a very precious, competent and enthusiastic person, the skills of the perfect teacher.
MC already collaborated with the University at the time, for the course of Professor Dora Liscia Bemporad, and had been part of the staff who with the director of the Museo degli Argenti had created an exhibition on contemporary jewellery in Palazzo Pitti.
The result of our first meetings and conversations was that MC became our teacher and curator of the gallery, as well as a consultant for the first edition of PREZIOSA, which was already underway.
Since then MC has curated all our exhibitions, has written the texts for all the catalogues, has been a reference person for me and for all the staff of the school and the PREZIOSA project: an irreplaceable person, for competence, enthusiasm, critical spirit, analytical skills and lucidity.
She was the most coherent and rigorous person among those who in various capacities dealing with goldsmith research in Italy, and certainly one of the most prepared and "special" voice in the European jewellery scene, usually so conformist. Together we worked on many projects, she helped me with her ability to grasp all the aspects that eluded me completely, she knew how to give shape and voice to my intuitions in the choice of artists.
Just read the texts she has written in recent years for the PREZIOSA YOUNG catalogues: a unique ability to intercept all the salient aspects of the works of a heterogeneous group of artists and to give meaning, content and unity to those works, thanks to her analytical ability and her unique vision.
Some of her selections of artists for the various editions of PREZIOSA are entirely brilliant, as are some of the chosen titles, later taken up by many curators for other exhibitions.
Everyone remembers how contagious her smile could be when he was well, or while a new exhibition was being set up.

A series of personal events, a few years ago had slowly pushed her towards a progressive closure in herself, alternated by periods of enthusiasm and resourcefulness.
The many disappointments from the world of art criticism, which has kept her on the margins, did not help, probably because she was not inclined to compromise and was alien to political alliances, and also because of the jealousy that her competence generated by absurdity in some people from the small world of contemporary jewellery.
MC had progressively reduced her commitment to our school to a few hours a week, and her willingness to take care of our projects had also decreased in the last two years to small collateral projects.
She often told me that she no longer had energy, no longer had the desire to dedicate herself to a world that had rejected her, or that she imagined she wanted to reject her. For some years she had been teaching as an art history teacher in a high school, and this activity, which she carried out as usual with the utmost commitment, seemed to have given her back some serenity.

Her decision to leave has come unexpectedly, and we will never know what has happened in her heart and head in the last days of her life.

We can only accept the fact that she is no longer with us.
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