Pomellato is a company that, in its own words, changed the rules. The rules of jewellery. It removed it from its traditional formality and made it younger, sexier, more universal in appeal. It introduced meaning to its pieces, rather like the language of flowers. Meaning transmitted by gemstones, by words, and above all by animals, motifs that have become the mainstay of DoDo, the House's second major brand. Pomellato's success is also based on the cross fertilisation between design and fashion. The high quality of crafts workmanship (the lost wax technique) was adapted to industrial production, with positive results in terms of innovation and image.
Pomellato was founded in 1948 by the Rabolini family, which still holds ownership. The company premises are in Milan, where the two main lines are manufacturered: Pomellato gioielli, and Dodo. The name comes from "cavallino pomellato," meaning a pinto or piebald pony.
However Pomellato only became a true brand two decades later, in 1967, when Pino Rabolini met Luigi Signori. This initiated the transformation from a crafts jewellery to global fame, with the development of pendants and necklaces in gold with diamonds. In 1982, Pomellato opened a boutique in Via San Pietro all'Orto, Milan, and from the mid 1980s, the company opened stores all over the world. Products in silver were introduced in 1983, and watches in 1989. In the 1990, gemstones began to be used intensively, diamonds, but above all large coloured stones with cabochon cut, used to create highly evocative pieces of jewellery.
In 2002, the company began sponsorship of WWF Italy, and launched the project "The earth can save man," with the objective of safeguarding the 100 most threatened eco-regions worldwide. Queen Raina of Jordan was the testimonial for the project. In Autumn 2002, the company launched "Stress," a limited-edition woman's watch, which attained remarkable sales success.
The company decided to try a flagship store, and opened one in Naples, on Via Filangieri. Total sales for the Pomellato group reached 67.3 million euro in 2002, up 22.5% on 2001.
In 2003, Pomellato USA exhibited their products at Sotheby's, and retail distribution began in department stores in New York, Greenwich, Boston, San Francisco and Aspen.
The "M'ama non m'ama" (love me, love me not) range is one of Pomellato's best sellers. It is based on a gold band with gemstones, for a total of 9 different rings, each with different meanings and colours. For example, garnet (red) for pleasure, green tourmaline for hope, red tourmaline for love, blue topaz for tenderness. A combination of different rings can be used to create a personalised piece of jewellery. It is promoted by means of engaging graphic design, and recently by a video featuring Tilda Swinton. This has proved to be a remarkable piece of marketing. The phrase "tilda swinton m'ama non m'ama" has become one of the most often-searched phrases in the jewellery sector on the internet.
The creation of DoDo
In 1994, Pomellato had declared its "commitment to the protection of the natural heritage," and it created DoDo, a range of modular jewellery which could tell a story and communicate messages of universal meaning. The name of course comes from a bird that was rapidly driven into extinction by Dutch colonists on the island of Mauritius. The classic DoDo products are their animal pendants, each of which has a specific meaning (they are listed below). They are made in yellow or pink gold on a black-waxed cotton cord, with some pieces, such as the Fortunello and Uno Su Mille charms, in white gold and diamonds. DoDo went from strength to strength and in 2002, 47% of Pomellato's total sales was made up by the DoDo brand, performing particularly well in countries outside Italy. The best market was in fact Japan, where boutiques were opened in 2002. New charms are added every year.
DoDo's communications are superbly tailored to their target audience. The Fortunello charm is advertised by black and white silhouette-type images accompanied by a rhyme, such as "What fate awaits I need not fear, And I'll make the reason clear, Touching wood works well you see, And black cats are no threat to me, But keeping me from any harm, Is my Fortunello charm". DoDo is also highly active on web 2.0, with Facebook applications ("On Valentine's day send a Dodo surprise") and other social network tools. The Dodo website (www.dodo.it) is a perfect example of communications targeted to a precisely-defined group of consumers.
The "Monetina" collection (spring-summer 2009) is a good example of how the Dodo brand utilises forms of communication that appeal to the young at heart. Monetina is a pink gold and silver pendant in the form of a coin with the words "1 kiss" on one side, and "A kiss for your thoughts" on the other.
Though the DoDo concept and the image of the pieces are refreshingly youthful and "new generation," the prices of these jewels are still at a luxury products level, reflecting the valuable materials used.
Each animal featured on Dodo jewels has a meaning. Here they all are:
- Toucan - there's no-one like you
- Eagle - unreachable
- Owl - I love the night
- Dove - let's make up
- Falcon - aim for the stars
- Butterfly - I need freedom
- Duck - it's just gossip
- Sparrow - please don't go
- Hen - hold me tight
- Cockerel - I'm ready to fight
- Peacock - you always amaze me
- Penguin - totally in love
- Chick - hug me
- Ostrich - don't pretend nothing's up
- Elk - follow me
- Sheep - I'll keep you warm
- Camel - real friend
- Squirrel - everything, right away
- Rabbit - tender heart
- Elephant - trust me
- Giraffe - ready for anything
- Rhino - I'll protect you
- Lion - courage
- Panther - I'm proud of you
- Ape - I enjoy life with you
- Dog - always by your side
- Cat - spoil me
- Mouse - don't run away from me
- Tortoise - you're able to wait
- Snail - don't hurry
- Hippo - I'm just so fond of you
- Kangaroo - I feel safe with you
- Snake - you tempt me
- Piglet - don't be sly
- Pelican - you give me everything
- Swan - you take my breath away
- Horse - let's run away together
- Goat - you're always in my thoughts
- Gecko - give me a little warmth
- Bull - you're a conqueror
- Crane - lean on me
- Turtle - together we'll go a long way
- Frog - kiss me, I'm your prince
- Octopus - hold me tight
- Seastar - I'm fragile
- Shark - I can defend myself
- Angel fish - I can work miracles
- Dolphin - take me with you
- Whale - you're a tower of strength
- Crab - so shy
- Seal - help me!
- Sea-horse - don't hold back
- Parrot - tell the truth
- Rocking horse - let's play together
- Aeroplane - get me flying
- Boat - take me out to sea
- Dodo - I'm your dodo
- Little fish - can you keep a secret?
- Cockerel - I'd smother you with kisses
- Hen - I'm enchanted by your song
- Die - good luck