JANESICH (Est. 1835 – ) Under the management of the Janesich family, this House has been a source of prestigious goldsmith activity for more than 180 years and in many countries throughout Europe. The founder, Leopoldo Janesich (1802 – 1880) opened his first shop in Trieste and sold jewelry and silverware to an international clientele who visited its location on the Capo di Piazza, a cultural and social meeting place.
By his mid-thirties, Leopoldo had ten years of practical workshop experience, had learned draftsmanship skills while, simultaneously becoming an accomplished goldsmith. He attracted the attention of rich and diversified clients. It did not take long before bankers, ship owners, merchants and noblemen were coming to his shop encouraging his confidence and enthusiasm.
The customers were seduced by the sophisticated quality of the jewels Janesich sold. The earrings, broaches, and other items he offered showed a refined taste for simple and beautiful works that were decorated in gold, silver and diamonds.
Janesich jewels were first prized by the Austrian aristocracy who made Trieste one of their favorite vacation destinations. They were followed by the Italian bourgeoisie.
When Leopoldo died, his son Giovanni (1836 – 1927) took over the firm and expanded the company by opening a shop in Paris on the Rue de Lafayette that was managed by his son, Alberto. The Paris shop traded pearls along with other exquisite gems. Giovanni inherited his father’s skills in jewelry design and remained in Trieste to run the business.
Alberto proved to be a keen buyer, seller and student of gems. From the firm’s home base, Giovanni promoted the firm’s relations with other jewelry houses such as Bulgari in Italy, Vever, Boucheron, Chaumet in France, and Tiffany & Co in America. Janesich purchased significant quantities of pearls from Tiffany.
Meanwhile, Alberto became known as a Parisian socialite who was regularly seen at the Opera in the box of the Princess of Metternich. Consequently, Alberto’s clientele grew to include many Parisian elite.
Both Giovanni and Alfredo extended their contacts with suppliers to the Italian cities of Florence, Rome, Venice, and Milan as wells as to the German laboratories of Hanau and the Austrian ones in Vienna. In 1913, Alberto bought two premises from the Goustikker family. One was in Rue de la Paix, between Tiffany and Cartier and the other was in Monte Carlo facing the famous casino.
When World War I raged in Europe between 1914 and 1918, it slowed the success of the Janesich name. However after the war, the Janesich family set up two new shops in the fashionable French resorts of Deauville, on the Atlantic Ocean and Vichy in the mountains.
While the shop in Trieste included clients such as King Nicholas of Montenegro and Duke Amedeo of Aosta as well as big shipping companies, the Paris shops received frequent visits from Princess Ruspoli and Baronesses Rothschild and Forest as well as the fashionable society of the time.
Tiffany continued to buy gems from Alberto, while his father, although elderly, managed the connection with the Baume et Mercier watch factory whose mechanisms were encased in Janesich gem and gold watchcases created in the very popular “deco” style. The great jewelry designer Alfred Langlois worked for a time at Janesich.
It was also during this period that Alfredo’s other son, Giuseppe, who had inherited his grandfather’s passion for the fine arts plus his talent for drawing and still lived in Trieste, designed an elegant gold, silver and enamel jewelry box for the wedding of Princess Mafalda of Savoy.
In 1923, the first Biennial Festival of Decorative Arts was held at the Royal Villa in Monza and included many of the firm’s beautiful creations. In 1925 the House of Savoy awarded the Janesich family with a royal appointment. The crown that adorns the head of the Madonna in the Castelmonte sanctuary is among the treasures created in the Janesich workshops.
In 1927, Giovanni Janesich passed away and Giuseppe initiated his son Pietro, known as ‘Momo’ into the family trade. He fit in brilliantly.
In 1933, Giuseppe received an appointment by the House of Aosta, but over the next two years, the Janesich shops in France closed. In 1937, Giuseppe died and Europe entered another painful decade in the years before and after the Second World War.
Under Giuseppe’s and Alfredo’s guidance, Momo continued the firm’s century-old traditions of producing works for famous authorities of the time and for official national and local celebrations. Many works of art were made for the Italy’s Premier Mussolini with many other gift items made on the occasions of ship-launching ceremonies of the Thirties.
After the war ended, it remained for Momo, now alone, to begin post-war activity. Of course, at this time, the world had changed and Momo, a cultured and refined man, tells a friend that all the great customers have “gone.”
Among the final creations of the House of Janesich was the creation of the Golden Laurel Award Cup made for David O. Selznick, the renowned American film producer of “A Farewell to Arms” and “Gone with the Wind.”
In 1971 Momo died and is succeeded in Trieste by Francesco Janesich, the sixth heir to the jewelry family. It is here, with respect for its tradition of nearly two centuries experience with jewels and precious items that Janesich items are still conceived and created.
Janesich remains well known for powder compacts and card cases in the Art Deco style. It is also the source of highly desirable precious cups and other objects still produced by the firm.