A handmade Carrara marble heart for marble lovers may be the perfect gift idea for this Valentine!
The marble look is trending in fashion jewelry and has been recreated with howlite, ceramic, resins, or even Fimo, but here we are talking about real Carrara marble fine jewels. Jewels with a simple and well-thought design that does not distort the nature of marble, and a story worth telling. These unique pendants are handcrafted in Laboratorio Menconi, a typical and picturesque marble workshop based in Carrara, the world capital of marble.
The magic of a Carrara marble workshop
The Laboratorio Menconi, a workshop celebrating 50 years of activity, is located in Carrara, at the feet of the famous Apuan Alps, where the precious marble comes from. The workshop activity started with sawing marble, then it became specialized in artistic craftsmanship e sculpture. Currently, it offers stations for sculptors and artists who work mostly in an artisanal way, that is without using industrial machinery.
Driving from Carrara up to the Mountains you will encounter Laboratorio Menconi about 100 yards after the “Ponte di Ferro” (iron bridge), once used by the ‘Ferrovia Marmifera’, the Marble railway transporting marble blocks from the quarries to the sea.
Many tourists from all over the world stop by, as it is a very fascinating view. In the old workshop, you can learn how a typical mortar or marble tray is done, and you can watch how sculptures come to life observing professional sculptors working in their workstations.
Marble Jewels, the project
“ We are very passionate about marble, and we have a deep bond with the tradition of the ancient marble carvers.” explains Barbara, the descendant of the Menconi family owning the workshop together with her sister Sarà, “We have some old blocks of different marble qualities left by my father, and since I believe that nothing has to be wasted, every piece of this incredible material that was taken from our mountains has to be used to create something beautiful. That’s how my partner and I had the idea to create a line of jewels. The marble hearts are our most popular item: we produce them in different stones: Statuario marble, Paonazzo, Bardiglio or Portoro.” The MB initials engraved on every jewel stand for the designers: Massimiliano Bortolan and Barbara Menconi, but could also stand for Marmo Bianco (white marble).
Created by the skilled hand of Carrara artisans
Love for marble, respect for our mountains, love for the values of craftsmanship. It is incredible the amount of love it’s put in these pendants: each Carrara marble heart is a small sculpture. They are produced in lots of 20-25 units, and the production of each lot takes 6 days. First, the hearts are cut, then carved and finally polished. Moreover, each material require different care: for example Portoro is the most difficult to carve. The necklaces are completed with high-quality leather cords, waxed cords or twisted cotton cords that do not stain the marble nor your skin.
“Sometimes tourists want to order larger quantities and we have to ship them. For example, we recently shipped a box of them in United States and Mexico. We are really happy that people appreciate our work, but we want to keep it small and exclusive”. I could not resist and I bought a Carrara marble heart myself. I am now a very lucky possessor of something unique, you can not find anywhere else in the world.
Are you interested in visiting the workshop, or in buying the marble jewels?
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