Iconic creations designed to glorify Calabria throughout the world. Collections of Magna Graecia and Byzantine art, as well as sculptures in a modern key, works of sacred art. Her jewels and awards have passed into the hands of the world’s greatest film, TV, music and literary icons, from Francis Ford Coppola to Nicole Kidman, as well as Richard Gere, Rita Levi Montalcini and Pope Francis. We are talking about Michele Affidato, jeweler from Calabria who has been creating his works for almost 40 years, continuing to work with his children in the laboratory and exhibition hall in Crotone, bringing the name of the region to the top all over the world.
From Crotone to the world with “Calabria in the heart”
Affidato was born in Crotone, the heart of Magna Graecia, and started making jewelry as a boy, at the age of 12. “Alternating study and work, I went to school in the morning and to work in the afternoon. Then, about ten years later, having studied the technique of working in some laboratories, in 1987 I opened my own jewelry workshop. At first, I had to be content with repairs, because I could not buy raw materials., then little by little the first orders arrived, and so, on savings, I began to try my hand at the first jobs, ”explains the jeweler. In an ever-growing path, the “old” store today is a large showroom with adjoining laboratory in the historic center of Crotone, as well as a store in Catanzaro and about 60 dealerships. His intense creative journey, characterized not only by jewelry, but also by the sacred art that he has always admired, as well as the creation of major international awards. Today he is considered the jeweler of the Vatican and the stars. but he remains down to earth, working in his workshop, which he shares with his employees, wife and children, who follow in his footsteps.
“I want to say that Michele Affidato created himself, no one helped him, and what he achieved he achieved by starting and staying on the path with great respect for others, professionalism and great sacrifice. Even today, the jeweler emphasizes, participation in events is a duty, but the real realization, the real moment of freedom, is when I create in my laboratory, in front of the workbench.”
The creations of the Calabrian jeweler are a union of the ancient and the modern, they look at the past and the present at the same time, as a bridge between tradition and the present. Magna Graecia, Byzantine-inspired jewels reimagined with a modern twist, entirely handcrafted in a goldsmith’s workshop using ancient manufacturing techniques.
Collections of type Aphrodite, Apotropaic, Masks and many others that are part of the larger theme of “Paths of Precious History”, which shows the evolution of jewelry from ancient Magna Graecia to the present day, highlighting the transformation of jewelry style over time.
Jeweler of the Vatican
His passion for the sacred led him to become a real scholar and devote himself to this art form, which soon paid off with important commissions such as the creation of new tiaras for the icon. Our Lady of Czestochowaon the occasion of the historic event of the 300th anniversary of his first coronation. “The Vatican Printing House also printed a book about this journey. The path that ended in twinning with Madonna di Main columnbecause I wanted this work to create a bridge not only of faith but also of religious tourism, and given the high media coverage, I prayed to the paulinca friars and the church that this would happen here in Calabria,” Affidato explains.
Subsequently, other diadems were created for the icon of the Madonna of the American Częstochowa, kept in the Sanctuary of Doylestown in Pennsylvania, in the USA, as well as works of historical value, such as a canvas of 1600 depicting the Madonna del Pozzoleo in Santa Severina, restoration of the crown of the 700th BV Immacolata of the Cathedral of Squillace, the crown of the Madonna Regina of Peace from the Cathedral of Ostia and many works created for the greatest personalities of the religious world, from the Patriarch of Constantinople to the President. CEI, also for the 50th anniversary of the Pontifical Council. But, above all, Affidato, now known by the nickname “Jeweler of the Vatican” and repeatedly received the Holy See from the last three popes, created the papal coat of arms for the two popes Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.
Jeweler of the stars and friendship with Rita Levi Montalchini
Taormina Film Festival, Maratela, Monte Carlo Prize, Sonora Prize, Venice Film Festival and many more. All these events are signed by a trusted jeweler with prizes and jewels made over the years for the most famous stars of cinema, television, as well as prominent figures in music, literature, politics and science. “I had the honor of shaking hands with people like Richard Gere, Francis Ford Coppola, Nicole Kidman, Albert Monaco, Sergio Mattarella, Ennio Morricone, Sophia Loren name a few. When I gave Lauren Maratea the Christ the Redeemer, I remember she was happy and told me that this is an award that she will put up in the middle of the Oscars and kisses her every morning as she walks by, ”the jeweler continues.
But perhaps most of all he remembers his friendship with Nobel laureate Rita Levi Montalcini. “I awarded her many years ago on the occasion of the presentation of the award to women who distinguished themselves in Italy, in Bari, and this friendship was born from there. I also became a member of her foundation, which supported projects for young African women. One day, – recalls Affidato, – while we were in this big hotel, after dinner we walked in the park arm in arm, and she told me about her life, studies. And at some point I said to her: “Professor, but in spite of everything you could do in America, why did you return to Italy?” She stopped, looked at me with her commanding stance and said, “I came back because humanity still exists in Italy.“”.
San Remo Festival Prizes
Last but not least, the realization of prizes for Sanremo Festival. “Cooperation,” explains the jeweler, “which began on the occasion of the event to which I was invitedFriend Mino Reitano, which was a testament to this event, and where I met the then director of Rai Uno, Mauro Mazza, who was interested in my creations. So since 2010, his works have been awarded for many years to artists, journalists, writers and figures who have gone down in the history of the Italian music festival. “In 2011,” recalls Affidato, “I also created an award to mark the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy, given to Al Bano with “Va’ Pensiero” from Verdi’s Nabucco.
The award depicts Italy, which stands out on the tricolor, in each capital a diamond was installed, which was presented by the highest leadership of Rai in the Quirinal to the then head of state, Giorgio Napolitano. “At that time,” Affidato concludes, “I knew that more than 20 million people watched the festival that evening and that it was also broadcast around the world. So I stopped Gianni Morandi, with whom, over time, a great friendship was established, when he was heading to the stage of the festival, and I said to him: “Gianni, when you name my prize, you say Calabrian jeweler.” I was sitting among the guests in the front row, and he emphasized this several times during the evening. It was a great gift that along with my art connection with my people, my land“.