Sunday, November 13, 2005

Rome – Need a Christmas Gift

“Gianluca, we need to stop in at Claudia Baglioni’s store before she closes. I called her and she will wait for us but we need to go now,” I called out to Gianluca as soon as Raffaella left the room.

“Ahhh, Mr. Anderson, you did not forget your anniversary,” Gianluca replied slyly.

I believe everyone is convinced that I get so caught up in the company that I forget everything else but I had been waiting for this for some time. Claudia has a small store in via Baullari, next to Campo dei Fiori. She is from one of the oldest families of Gioiellieri in Rome and has this little hole in the wall place that barely fits 3 people inside however its not the store that counts but the merchandise.

Gioielleria Baglioni has served many of the Italian noble families. Over the years they have purchased jewels and then sold the jewels as times have changed. In some cases the pieces are authentic masterpieces from a different era. For whatever the reason the Gioielleria Baglioni has some of the most unique pieces I have ever seen. Obviously she has the some of the modern jewelry and numerous watches but the real treasure that can be found here are the one of a kind pieces, many antique, that you can give knowing that no one else will be wearing anything similar. Both Raffaella and I stop in, sometimes just to say hi, on way here or there.

Since one of my passions is cufflinks, Raffaella has an easy out for any gift occasion. My job is somewhat more difficult, the scope is not difficult but the choice can be somewhat daunting. I asked, during our first year together, whether she preferred diamonds or pearls. I was thinking, “ok, let’s get an indication for gifts over the next 10 years.”

Her response was so quick it surprised me. With a gleam in her beautiful green eyes she responded without hesitation, “Both!”

Claudia Baglioni was my savior. I do not like fake things, plated is fake, 14k is fake, I prefer smaller but real through and through. Everyone can buy a Rolex or some gold collier but antique jewels, now that is something a bit more difficult. Recently Raffaella and I took a trip to Las Vegas; we stayed at the Venetian. The hotel was beautiful and the workmanship was excellent. As part of the experience we took the 5$ gondola ride. I can honestly say that it was pretty neat however, I would not take it a second time. We both love Venice and have visited often, every time we go we take a gondola or motorboat. We never get bored and continuously see something we had not seen the time before. The weather is different, the boat sways to and fro according to the tides and the weather, the light is different, the people we encounter have different personalities and each trip is unique. Costume jewelry is like the gondola ride in Vegas, great once, even fun, but not something you would want as part of your life on a regular basis.

I must disclose, Claudia has found many things for me including Raffaella’s engagement and wedding rings. The engagement ring took almost two years, I indicated the kind of diamond I was looking for, cut, color, brilliance and size and in time she found the perfect diamond. She then allowed me to choose the ring from numerous vendors, even though her family produced extremely high quality pieces of their own.

They then set the diamond and worked discretely to get the perfect size, not ½ size or best match, they fit the ring to Raffaella’s finger.

I have purchased jewelry for pleasure and for investment. The VanCleef & Arpels and the Burmian Ruby princess collier from the late 1800’s are examples of some of the interesting things that Baglioni can offer, obviously not those pieces because they are mine, but other very unique pieces. If you are in Rome, pay a visit to Claudia Baglioni in via dei Baullari and send “best wishes” from David and Raffaella. You will be pleased with your adventure.


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