To remember and honour the identities of the women that inspire us and whose stories we wish to celebrate, we have named each piece of jewellery after a female pioneer at the forefront of Italian history.
This extravagant necklace, together with its matching set of earrings, honours one of Art History’s most accomplished artists, Sofonisba Anguissola.
Born into a minor Cremonese noble family around 1532, the young Sofonisba, together with her sisters, received a well-rounded education, which included the fine arts, in which she particularly excelled. Her remarkable artistic talent quickly garnered attention and she was sent to train with the Cremonese painter Bernardo Campi. During her apprenticeship she corresponded with none other than Michelangelo, who advised and critiqued her work, which helped to cultivate her skills as a painter. As her career began to flourish, she made a name for herself as a portrait painter. By 1559, her fame as a female portrait painter had spread outside Italy and she was invited to become a lady-in-waiting to Elisabeth of Valois, the wife of King Philip II of Spain. At the Spanish court, Anguissola developed a nuanced and engaging style of portraiture that suited her royal patrons' need for imperial representation, and after the death of Elisabeth of Valois, she entered the services of the King. Overcoming one of the dominant obstacles of her time, she secured a position as a court artist, a role normally reserved only for men. As one of the few women who succeeded in overcoming the complex socio-political obstacles, she forged a successful career as an artist on the European stage. To this day, she is considered as the first female artist of the Renaissance to achieve international fame during her lifetime.