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A jewelry store like no other: Extremida
October 22, 2021 – 11:48
Many artisans in Florence face the same challenge: the work is labor intensive, as is often the case when traditional methods are used. This requires a mastery of highly specialized techniques and painstaking attention to detail. While there are many people who appreciate the skill and finesse required to create an original work of art, it is often a challenge to connect these intenditori with the multitude of talented artisans that work in the Oltrarno, the center of Florentine artisanal creativity.
This is why education is essential to preserving traditional arts and culture. In order to appreciate the value of something, one must first understand what was required to bring it into existence. My last article in The Florentine stressed the benefits of educating visitors to seek out the work of the talented artisans of the Oltrarno, where craftspeople have been honing their respective trades for centuries.
An excellent example is the work of jewelry design artists Debora di Giorgi and Flavio Agresti. Their bottega, under the flagship name of Extremida, is situated on via Maggio, just steps from the Pitti Palace. To the casual passerby, it looks like a beautiful jewelry store with strikingly unique creations. But this is a jewelry store like no other and their pieces are both artisanal and artistic.
Debora and Flavio met ten years ago while working in the antiques market world. Flavio studied goldsmithing at the Porta Romana Institute; Debora earned her degree in graphics and design from the Istituto Professionale Tornabuoni. As their creative careers evolved, Flavio found himself drawn to innovations in execution by fusing different metals, while Debora became captivated by the intricacies of restoring 16th-century Florentine furniture.
These passions proved to be the spark of brilliance in the collaborative creations that emerge from the Extremida bottega. Inspired by nature and a love of unique natural materials, their art takes many forms: delicate pieces made from the centuries-old lost wax technique and bold bangles cast from metal slabs of bronze, copper or silver-colored brass. Their Autumn in Florence collection features intricate filigree rings that reflect the Florentine Renaissance.
From the Extremida Coral Reef collection, made in the centuries-old lost wax method
Every piece is one-of-a-kind, handcrafted and a true original. Debora and Flavio have combined classic techniques with modern ingenuity, and the results are truly works of wearable art.
On a recent visit to Debora and Flavio’s bottega, they shared their latest line, made with the lost wax technique. Reminiscent of the underwater world, it is aptly named Coral Reef with freshwater pearls and small semi-precious stones set in gold-plated brass.
For more information on products and original commission work, visit www.extremida.com or email Debora and Flavio at [email protected].
Connect with the Artisans of the Oltrarno
For the last year I’ve been working with a small group of artisans in the Oltrarno district of Florence. A leatherworking student myself, I wanted to help these talented people through the tourism downturn brought about by the global pandemic. Many bottegas have closed and this is a serious problem. I’m honored to help these dedicated artisans and my goal is to connect them with people that value fine craftsmanship and authenticity. We are working to build a dynamic platform that will bring a wider audience to the work of this talented group that is focused on unique and traditional art forms.
We are conducting virtual shopping tours tailored to a variety of fine artisanal works. I work directly with clients to understand their interests and shopping dreams, and connect them with artisans in the Oltrarno who are masters of leatherworking, jewelry design, interior furnishings, fashion design, and antique restoration, to name a few.
For me, the reward is the expression of surprise and delight when a client sees the vast variety of treasures available, their exceptional quality and affordability. The smile on an artisan’s face when their work is well received and appreciated, and a client who is thrilled with their purchases: this combination is the best reward I could ask for.
If you’d like to set up a virtual shopping experience, please contact me at [email protected]. All of my work is commission-free and all sales proceeds go directly to the artisans of the Oltrarno.
It’s fun, easy, and you can work directly with artisans of your choice. So if you missed your trip to Italy this year, or simply want an exceptional virtual shopping experience, now is the perfect time to capture Florentine originals at their finest. We work with one trusted local shipper to consolidate purchases from all of our artisans’ botteghe, delivered directly to you.
Thank you for supporting art and culture in Florence!
Photo credits: Melissa Ramondelli, Kate Sippey, Emma Cecilia Rosandich