As the hub of the Renaissance, Florence is one of the most exciting and inspiring cities to explore. I love everything about it from the fabulous treasures of the Uffizi, the architecture and the terracotta roofs to the delicious herb aromas, the romantic language and basic ambience.
For me the outstanding first impressions were of the tall towers owned by rich, important families.
As I sauntered around Florence, breathing in the pure mediaeval history of the city, I began noticing everywhere the symbols of the powerful Medici family. You can find their coat of arms in almost every street, up high on a wall, above a door or displayed in a sweeping archway.
I was privileged enough to take a guided tour through the Vasari Corridor which is a wonderful, secret overhead passageway built by Giorgio Vasari in 1564 for the Medici family. It is almost 1 Km in length and joins the Palazzo Vecchio to the Pitti Palace, passing over the top of the shops that span the Ponte Vecchio. Most importantly it contains one of the world’s most fabulous collections of portraits and self-portraits by some of the greatest masters. The Pitti Palace at the end of the corridor is full of portraits of the Medicis, and as I wandered from room to room I became fascinated by their clothes and jewelry.
Some months later I went to a bead fair at which, whilst rummaging around one of my favourite stalls, I came across some 10mm square, flat backed, Space Cut crystals. I was astonished, as I’d never seen such gorgeous, chunky crystals before, and instantly bought some in the three colours they had available. As they had no holes I actually had to trap them into some beadwork. I had enormous fun setting the traps!
There are a number of variations in the trapping method I designed, one of which you can see here – the Lorenzo bracelet. Take a look at the Luisa earrings (which can be worked as studs or dangles), and the Isabella and Caterina necklaces. These have now all become my Medici Collection.