Roberta and Cristina Tarsitano, two artisan sisters, jewelry creators and goldsmiths, are the protagonists of our new Postcard. It’s under their name an enterprise that was born several years ago between Italy and US.
It’s a “precious” inheritance”, the one your father had left you. Roberta, Cristina are you a “living legacy”?
Yes! – Roberta confirms – I have always been fascinated by my father’s ability; I learned a lot by him.
He first left for New York City where he did his apprenticeship in a few workshops, before starting his career at Harry Winston. In 1967 he went back to Italy, in Rome, where he worked for Bulgari, but the following year he was again at Harry Winston in the Big Apple.
Were you and your sister born in that period?
Yes, and we have been living in New York until 1973.
Then a feeling of homesickness led your father and the family back to Fagnano Castello.
We sailed on the liner Raffaello, an unforgettable trip, and we spent a year in Italy. Then we came back to NYC, where we stayed until 1975, when the decision came to settle in Italy due to the birth of our younger sister, Anna Maria. In 1979 my father opened his own workshop, Osvaldo Tarsitano Goldsmith, but he kept on travelling to US and also Brazil.
The experience in Brazil was unique, did you go with him?
Sure, I was always ready to leave with him. In Brazil he brought me to some gems mines, where he used to choose and buy the most particular and precious stones. I always remember his words: “What you can learn by travelling, you will not find in books!” Then the cancer. He left us alone: my mother with a six-month child (Francesca), I and my one-month daughter and my sisters.
And you took a brave decision, didn’t you?
We wished to continue what my father had created: it was by then a family tradition. With my sister Cristina we named the workshop TARSITANO GOLDSMITHS.
What are the secrets for a perfect jewel?
Put your passion into it, craft the metals through love, give life to the creation.
What particular care do you have in the gems’ choice?
All stones have something magic. Diamonds are the top choice, of course, but the semiprecious stones, the colored ones like topaz, amethysts, aquamarines and also tourmalines make the jewel a unique creation.
About novelty: what are your characteristics?
I am the most classical one, my sister is more whimsical. The results are several little chef d’oeuvres.
Roberta, you went back to New York City two years ago: was it a decision consequent to a tempting job offer?
I met an old friend of my father. He appreciated my works and then he invited me to work for his Company, the Tanagro Jewelry in New York.
Your sister Cristina, has she decided to stay in Italy?
Yes, but we are always in touch, crossing our experiences.
Alike all the artisans you have suffered serious consequences of the pandemic. How have you faced them?
In New York and in the US we had major implications. In Italy, especially in the South, this branch of handicraft had endured a decline. It has always been hard to privilege creativity over merchantability.
I got to know about a material that can help with the merchantability issue. What is it and how do you exploit it?
Telling the truth the idea came from my sister Cristina, she gave me the necessary indications for an unusual material: paper. During the pandemic I have begun to experiment with it and create some pieces, recycling sheets of papers that I was keeping at home and assembling them together with non-precious materials. This way I gave life to my ecological recycling project, that helped me to enhance my creativity. The result has been the line ROBY’S PAPER GEMS, online distributed by Etsy US.
What are your projects for the future, maybe a dream?
I’d love to build an ideal bridge joining New York and Fagnano Castello to keep alive that family tradition which has a beautiful story to tell through its creations.
ARTE ORAFA TARSITANO
ROBY’S PAPER GEMS