Carlo Giuliano: Reviving the Renaissance

By: Dara Vandor

Lot 53 – Mid-19th Century Carlo Giuliano 14k Yellow Gold Hinged Bangle with applied gold decoration in the Etruscan-Revival style. Width 0.75 in — 1.9 cm, 39.1 grams, with C.G mark for Giuliano and also marked ‘6P4’. Estimate $2,500-$3,500

Though born in Naples, master jeweller and goldsmith Carlo Giuliano (1831-1895) would make his name in London. Despite being one of the most celebrated jewellers of his age, little is known of his life before 1860, when Giuliano set up his own workshop at 13 Frith Street in Soho. Waddington’s is pleased to be offering a gold bangle by Giuliano in our Estate Jewellery auction, online from September 30–October 5.

Establishing a brand

Some jewellery historians think that Giuliano trained under Italian goldsmith Augusto Castellani in Rome, and that the Frith Street location was financed or even owned by the latter. Other historians find little evidence to support this claim, as Giuliano is never mentioned in Castellani’s memoirs. Others suggest that the connection between the two Italian masters might be more commercially-oriented, with Giuliano selling some of Castellani’s designs for him in London.

Giuliano’s first workshop on Frith Street did not have its own showroom, so his creations were placed in the shops of other retailers including Robert Phillips, C.F. Hancock and Hunt & Roskell, who helped promote Giuliano’s work. These early pieces can sometimes be “double-marked;” stamped with both Giuliano’s registered mark (“CG,” but with the C upside down and connected to the G) as well as branding from the specific retailer. Giuliano’s designs attracted notice, prompting his partners to showcase his work at the 1867 Exposition Universelle in Paris.

By 1874, Giuliano had built his business into one of the most notable jewellery firms of the period. His success was such that he was able to open his own storefront in 1874, located at 115 Piccadilly. His fans included royalty, and patrons included King Edward VII, Empress Victoria of Prussia, and Queen Alexandra, who historians believe had her pearls restrung and cleaned by Giuliano. A black and white enamel pendant is thought to have been made by Giuliano for Queen Victoria to wear in mourning after the death of her son, Prince Alfred, in 1900. It is well documented that Queen Victoria commissioned Giuliano to make a pendant for her goddaughter Victoria Grey on the occasion of her marriage in 1877. The pendant is now held in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum, along with several other Giuliano creations.

In addition to his royal patrons, Giuliano’s work appealed to artists, including members of the Pre-Raphaelites. His jewellery designs featured in the paintings of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Sir Edward Poynter and Sir Edward Burne-Jones. The latter two even commissioned pieces specifically to fit their artistic vision, in evidence in Poynter’s “Helen of Troy.” Giuliano, moving in these artistic circles, even began referring to himself as an “artist jeweller,” which helped him attract a diverse set of patrons.

Signature styles

Giuliano was renowned for his superior craftsmanship and Revivalist style. Inspired primarily by Renaissance and archaeological jewellery, Giuliano reinterpreted ancient techniques and styles to suit contemporary tastes. Standing out amidst the Victorian period, Giuliano presented colourful, feminine pieces that were easy to wear.

Enamel work was a particular Giuliano speciality, specifically black and white combinations. The black and white look was a nod to French jewellers of the 17th century, and Giuliano often paired these dramatic designs with diamonds to create a luxurious monochrome look. Unusual combinations of gemstones—both in terms of colour and cut—were also a Giuliano signature. His aesthetic was a refined one, favouring cabochon-cut stones to flashier faceted cuts. He often worked with pearls and semi-precious stones like chrysoberyl, topaz, and amethyst.

Giuliano after Giuliano

Giuliano passed away at home in London in 1895. His will included very specific bequests, notably that each of his most loyal customers would be given a jewel worth £50 as a token of his appreciation. The Victoria & Albert Museum also received a gift of Giuliano jewellery, to be displayed in a glass vitrine near the tea room. Unfortunately, several pieces were stolen in 1899.

Giuliano bequeathed his business to his two sons, Carlo and Arthur, both trained jewellers. They would rename the company Carlo & Arthur Giuliano, working out of the family’s Piccadilly location and maintaining their father’s signature aesthetic. Jewellery made by the brothers bears a slightly different mark from that of their father, instead including both their initials, “C&AG,” inside an oval motif. In 1912, Carlo and Arthur relocated the firm to 48 Knightsbridge. Unfortunately, Arthur, the more talented and visionary of the two brothers, committed suicide in 1914, which prompted the business to shutter.

About the auction

Online from September 30–October 5, our 450-lot Estate Jewellery auction features an eclectic selection of jewellery including a number of important Italian and French makers. From antique to contemporary finds, look for finely-crafted bracelets, necklaces, rings, earrings, brooches, and vanity items primarily in gold set with a myriad of gemstones. Highlights include an elegant Carlo Giuliano bangle, a sculpted Buccellati ring, a Cartier Art Deco-era diamond and onyx bracelet, pieces by Georges Bilbault, Cavelti, Tiffany, and more.

Please contact us for more information.

On view at our Toronto location:

Sunday, October 1 from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Monday, October 2 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Tuesday, October 3 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm


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