Rajola (Est. 1926) Now in business for over nine decades, Rajola’s fame started in earnest when, in 1926, it won the first prize at the Dunedin Universal Exposition in New Zealand. The company had been established in Torre del Greco, Italy by founder, Giuseppe Rajola shortly before receiving the award. His children, Vincenzo and Mariella, ultimately joined the business and also brought dedication and extraordinary creativity to it.
Rajola’s creations are most inspired by its southern Italian heritage of Sciacca coral. Discovered near the seaside village of that name in western Sicily, Rajola’s designers use the renowned material for superior consistency and its distinct, orange-pink color. Sciacca coral was buried by volcanic eruptions centuries ago and was discovered and recovered between 1875 and 1900. From its beginnings, Rajola used the material in its jewelry and has done so ever since.
Their jewelry combines Sciacca with faceted gemstones to create intriguing creations. Historic surroundings paired with the family’s jewelry-heritage inspire designs that use local materials to evoke Italian style.
On the firm’s official website, Vincenzo says, “My great-grandfather, Giuseppe, married the daughter of the most important corallar of the nineteenth century and it was necessary to be involved in the activity of his father-in-law. [He] then set up his own business and began to work not only the coral but also other materials, those that were fashionable in those times: mother of pearl, shells, and ivory.
“It was thanks to my grandfather [that] the small artisan shop began to churn out small masterpieces, original and tasteful. … [Now in its third generation], the small artisan workshop has become one of the biggest companies in the sector without … losing the desire to experiment [in] new ways, [and] to invent emotions.
“Let’s not forget that our slogan is, ‘emotions in a jewel.’”
Vincenzo’s sister, Mariella, shares the same pride as her brother and has created the Young Jewelery Designer Award, which was established to celebrate the company’s 90th birthday.
The firm’s current collections include Queen of the Sea, Bubbles, Metropolis, Paradise, Dew, Sciacca Mystery, Adoremuà, Goodmorning Princess, and Fuego. Each piece is meticulously built with tenacity and deep passion. The exclusive designs, refinements, and finishing touches make each piece of Rajola jewelry a unique piece of art.
The brand uses the highest quality materials that are combined with precious gemstones – natural and certified by GIA (Gemological Institute of America) standards and made in Italy. Rajola pieces are always signed with a tower.
Among the most famous pieces of Rajola jewelry is a set made for Elizabeth Taylor. After her death, it was auctioned by Christie’s. It combined a multi-strand collier of citrines and iolite boules of the same color as Taylor’s eyes (purple-blue), mounted on 18k gold that can also be worn as a brooch with a pair of matching earrings. The firm has created reproductions of the necklace and earrings.
The founder of the current generation of Rajola, Giuseppe, is the author of, Mistero di Sciacca, the first book dedicated to coral. In 2015, he wrote Regina del Mare (Queen of the Sea) his latest expression of a past life between beautiful and wonderful things. It is neither a treatise nor a novel, but rather a book of memories, sensations, and a message left for those who come later: “Love pearls as I have loved them!”
In addition to publication, 2015 brought news in the Rajola world of the launch of two new brands: Like You, an innovative format conceived for jewels that unite, and Rajola Basic, a line conceived for an essential classic, both characterized by the creativity, design and quality typical of the Rajola brand.
Coral necklaces are some of the most valuable Rajola jewelry. The classic designs of round beads in different colors, arranged in one or more threads and thicknesses make up its most daring compositions. The necklaces can be combined with other natural materials like Onyx, Quartz colors, or Rubies. These necklaces, whether coral or of other materials such as turquoise, agates, and Australian cultured pearls are often parts of sets complete with earrings, bracelets, and rings.