The legacy of the Serra Roma boutique as archaeological jewelers and collectors of historical artifacts begins in 1910 with its founder, Mario Serra. He was a man of varied tastes, well-traveled and fluent in many languages. He was also attentive to society, its culture and preferences. Serra began to acquire stones, jewels and materials for his shop. His extraordinary sensitivity led him to an amazing selection of beautiful and innovative objects.
The Serra Roma jewelry boutique soon became a reference point of high society at the time and was honored to be named one of the official suppliers for the Italian Royal family.
Newspapers of the time often wrote about the shop, referring to it as "the most beautiful shop in Rome, indeed in Italy, perhaps in the world"; and also "Serra, the magician of beautiful things ... a labyrinth of seductions in which thousands of admirers of beauty find they want everything ..."
The Italian Royal family, aristocrats and members of the political class regularly purchased unique jewelry and artifacts from the Serra boutique, as documented by a newspaper article of 1929, which reports that “Mussolini himself went to the opening of an exhibition by car, with Finzi* arriving by plane (!) and Cremonesi* on horseback, in a display of uniforms and glittering military decorations "(*Finzi and Cremonesi were well-known politicians and members of the elite of the time. These historical articles are on a permanent exhibition in the SERRA shop in via Margutta!).
When founder Mario Serra retired, the artistic leadership and management of the company passed to his son Marcello.
Marcello continued his father's tradition. He was one of the main suppliers of Roman luxury items
and, like his father, he was a man of refined culture with broad and diversified interests. After studying in the Jesuit College of Mondragone (donated by Prince Borghese), as well as in Switzerland, Marcello entered the family business. He revealed a strong managerial capacity, adopting a rigorous quality policy that made his shop an obligatory point of reference for the most refined clients. At the same time he observed and supported the changes in society with his innovative formulas. Marcello had a decisive personality, he was a pilot as well as an officer in North Africa and the Aegean during the Second World War. He also participated in the Resistance as a liaison officer with different Allied commands, thanks to his mastery of numerous languages. Passionate about the sea and underwater archeology, Marcello repeatedly explored the Mediterranean and studied the research and recovery activities of the Spanish galleons in the Caribbean Sea.
Marcello passed on his passion for jewelry, archaeology, numismatics and beauty to his son Alessandro who, after studying art and management at Claremont College in Los Angeles, joined his father in running the company. In the Serra family tradition, Alessandro has become a distinguished scholar of Roman history and numismatics.
The result is the SERRA Roma “Archeological Collection”, a unique series of jewels created with Alessandro’s wife Ornella, who is a designer. These exquisite pieces are created with genuine historical items from Roman antiquity. Coins, bronze and Roman intaglios are incorporated into the contemporary element to create a harmonious blend of antiquity and modern taste.
The fourth generation of jewelers is Alessandro and Ornella’s daughter, Domitilla who has joined the family business.
The Serra family’s deep traditional connection to Roman civilization and its artistic heritage permeates their unique creations. The jewels of the archaeological collection use genuine ancient Roman coins and intaglios that date from the 3rd/4th century BC. to the Byzantine era. These are combined with forms and styles inspired by the talented goldsmiths who created works of timeless beauty and elegance 2000 years ago. With this precious collection of Roman gems and coins, sometimes mounted classically and other times refashioned with a more contemporary design, Serra has allowed these ancient artifacts to shine in a new light. Serra's customers wear true pieces of Roman art that are thousands of years old.
The custom of mounting coins to create jewels is an ancient tradition. Its origins are found in Greek antiquity, but the tradition became widespread in Rome between the first and third centuries AD. The Romans attributed talismanic powers to jewels, which they believed were amulets, and thus gave coins a much higher value and more complex significance than that for which they were originally minted.
Glyptics, the "minute but not lesser" art of engraving precious and semi-precious stones (but also glass pastes), were widely used in Roman times for rings, both for men and women, necklaces, bracelets and earrings (a famous example is the ring of Augustus in gold with black onyx, engraved with a Capricorn, symbol of the emperor’s power). Rings with engraved gemstones were also frequently used as seals, impressing them on the molten wax cast, placed to secure a document. The engraved stones were worked by skilled engravers; the themes of the figures were chosen by the customers or left to the aesthetic taste of the artist. Almost always, the choice was from mythological or allegorical themes. (Serra jewels come with documentation explaining the myth or the allegory and with certification of the historical period in which the piece was created). Today, there is a flourishing market of ancient Roman stones, which have been found throughout centuries in Rome and Italy. They are often privately traded or sold at auctions. These stones were often removed from the original artifacts and discarded by looters, who were only after gold and silver. This practice started with Barbaric invasions but continued during the Middle Ages and the following centuries. Roman intaglios, which are tiny masterpieces that allow us to retrace history and transport us back in time, are a fundamental and unique feature of our production.
Jewelry is a complex and elusive art form. Whether a piece of jewelry was originally chosen as an amulet, for its intrinsic beauty or because it conferred social status, jewelry continues to confer a personal, diverse and intimate significance, celebrating a special event in life.
Jewels are seductive. SERRA Roma strives to continue the tradition of authenticity, beauty and harmony, linking the Present with the Past.