In 1967 artist and designer, GianCarlo Montebello founded GEM, a goldsmith workshop dedicated to working with artists. Over the following decade, GEM produced limited edition jewelry designs by more than fifty artists including Lucio Fontana, Niki de Saint Phalle, Alex Katz, Ettore Sottsass and Gio Pomodoro, to name a few.
GEM’s production of artist-made jewels ended in 1978 when Montebello was the victim of theft and all of his work with artists was stolen. Despite its short-history and small editions, GEM’s works have been widely celebrated and exhibited around the world.
The artist’s jewelry edited by GEM Montebello was designed by painters and sculptors and therefore went to be displayed in galleries: In the period they were made they were shocking—these were the 60s and 70s—they broke with conventions because they transcended the code of jewelry as a status symbol. Today museums and collectors are interested in these very same pieces.