Carlo Giuliano moved with his wife and his eldest son, Carlo Joseph, to London from his native Italy in 1860. In the same year he founded his own workshop at 13 Frith Street. From this workshop in the heart of Soho, Giuliano produced well crafted jewellery in the popular revivalist style. Although not much is known of Giuliano before his arrival in London, it is likely due to the similarity in style that he trained under, or worked for the Roman jeweller, Castellani.
Jewellery Maker Profile: Carlo Giuliano
The Frith Street workshop had no showroom or shop floor, so his pieces were sold through the well established London dealers C. F. Hancock, Robert Phillips and Hunt and Roskell. By 1874 having established a strong presence in London, Carlo opened his own shop at 115 Piccadilly.
Although Giuliano held no Royal Warrant, the British Royal family were eager patrons. Giuliano created a pendant of black and white enamel for Queen Victoria upon the death of her son Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. King Edward VII was also a regular client, and Queen Alexandra reputedly trusted Giuliano with cleaning and restringing her pearls.
An Artist Jeweller
Giuliano not only attracted the attention of royalty, the Italian jeweller also fostered a strong relationship with major artists of the day. The Pre-Raphelite painters, Sir Lawrence Almer-Tadema and Sir Edward Burn-Jones were loyal clients. Sir Edward Poynter even borrowed pieces to be featured within his paintings, such as Helen of Troy, 1881.
Carlo considered himself an Artist jeweller and not merely a craftsman. Perhaps this attention to aesthetic detail and emphasis on design over materials, is why his work fitted comfortably within artistic circles.
His sons, Carlo Joseph and Arthur Alphonse, were trained in the business. Upon their father’s death, in 1895 they inherited the firm and continued his legacy. Although they renamed the business ‘Carlo and Arthur Giuliano’, they maintained the relationships their father had forged. As a sign of the importance of Giuliano’s loyal client base, each was gifted a piece of jewellery to commemorate his death.
By 1912 the brother’s moved further west, to the fashionable borough of Knightsbridge. However, the expansion was short-lived. Only two years later, in 1914, Arthur took his own life. His death brought the closing of Giuliano’s doors.
Despite the tragic demise of his son and subsequently his business, Carlo Giuliano continues to hold a high reputation for beautifully crafted revivalist jewellery. His pieces artfully combine the old with the new, mixing Renaissance styles with a contemporary understanding for materials and proportions to create a timeless quality that continue to appeal.
Appreciation for History
Underpinning Giuliano’s jewellery is an appreciation for history. Many of the designs produced by Carlo and later his son’s, were inspired by jewellery of the past. References for designs were drawn from a broad spectrum of eras: From the Etruscan and Roman to Syrian and Egyptian as well as his native Italian Renaissance. Giuliano was gifted in understanding how to utilise the past to rejuvenate the present. Yet he never reproduced exact copies.
Revivalist jewellery was a popular style in the 19th century, spurred on by the great archaeological projects underway. Particularly those in Egypt. The fringe necklace is a form that has endured throughout the ages and is perhaps the house’s most iconic design that has reoccurred in many forms: sometimes set with tapering gold beads or carved hardstones or even ancient coins.
Many of Giuliano’s meticulous designs are now preserved in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. One such pieces is a granulated gold bead necklace inspired by Etruscan gold work. At it’s centre is a pendant mask of the ancient hero, Achelous. The necklace is signed ‘C.G’ and dated c.1865.