This post is also available in: Italian

Sicilian jewelry arose from a particular combination and cross-fertilisation of cultures that have inhabited this enchanted island in the Mediterranean.

A mixture of Norman, Swabian, French, Spanish, Greek, Turkish and Arabic influences have given rise to a unique and recognizable style. A style involving gold and featuring Sicilians jewels. The tradition of the Arab-Norman art began during the eleventh century (the Arabs conquered Sicily in 827 and the Normans arrived at the end of the eleventh century) and has been further enhanced with new influences to this day.

Artistically Sicily is the heart of the Mediterranean where creative influences and ideas from other latitudes converge and are reshaped. Goldsmithing and silversmithing production and schools were established in Palermo in 1447 to meet the demands by the Normans of Palermo. These were finally abolished in 1822.

The art of the Arab-Norman Jewelers ‘Nobiles Officinae’

Sicilian goldsmith art began with the establishment of one of the first goldsmith schools in the world under the tutelage of Count Ruggero, the first member of a dynasty that transformed Sicily into one of the most active cultural centers around 1200. In Palermo Nobiles Officinae was founded (also called Tiraz in Arabic or Ergasterion in Greek), the school being located inside the Royal Palace and managed directly by the royal house.

In this workshop were produced all the precious objects to adorn the royal palaces and places of worship: gold embroidered silks, boxes of ebony and ivory, carved ivories, enamels, pots of fine crystal, jewelry and accessories made of gold and silver.

The essence of this school was the real freedom for expression of its masters, coming from different cultures and countries, who experienced and created together thus giving rise to a new style. Since that time Sicilian jewelry and Arab-Norman art would characterize Sicily to the extent that the heritage is recognizable in all later evolutions.

In Nobiles Officinae a process of cultural integration occurred (later adopted into different centuries by the House of Bourbon of the Two Sicilies) that brought wealth and prosperity to South Italy.

A revival in Sicilian Jewelry

Mirko Noto, historian and Sicilian jewelry artist, founded “The Workshop of Count Roger” (L’officina del Conte Ruggero) in honour of the beginning of the artistic history of Sicily: the Arab-Norman art. The architecture and the flora of his homeland are a strong inspiration for his jewelry, which combine tradition and design.

Mirko Noto creates works of jewelry that are a declaration of love for the history of his homeland. The jewelry combines ancient techniques, such as embossing and engraving, with design skills thanks to his experience as a craftsman. The jewelry is made of 925 silver, brass, copper and enameled all handmade.

Bracelets, earrings and pendants that reinterpret the forms and signs of Sicilian culture in an artistic way for lovers of culture and Sicily lovers worldwide. A real tribute to the beauty of the island, to see and wear!

A Sicilian Jewelry collection “From the Earth to the Sea”

Mirko Noto has created a line of jewelry that is inspired by the prickly pear (Fig of India), a typical plant of Sicily and a symbol of strength. Its tasty fruit comes from wild plants, un-irrigated that survive ‘a thousand elements’.

Earrings, bracelets and rings made with the techniques of chiselling and embossing, recall shapes of the leaves of prickly pear and let one wear the “taste of Sicily”.

So you can wear the taste of Sicily? Thanks to the inheritance before the Arab-Norman and creativity Mirko Noto, we can say yes.


(This article by Nicoletta Di Marco is reproduced under licence from Energitismo Limited)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *