Afro ‘Basaldella’ for Masenza Gold and Diamond Choker Necklace, 1960s


Unique Collar necklace by Italian Abstract Expressionist artist Afro. The 18k Yellow gold double- hinged necklace with “calligraphic” design and accented with round white diamonds. Afro, primarily known as a painter in the “Arte Informale” style he worked along side artists like Lucio Fontana, and Alberto Burri. He was also a part of the Italian “Groupo degli otto” . In America, he had a friendship with DeKooning. This necklace designed by him was executed by the house of Mario Masenza. Mario , born into the family of jewelers who supplied the Italian Royal family since 1924, felt uneasy about the staid environment of the jeweler’s world. He thought post war art In Italy at the time was exciting. Why shouldn’t jewelry reflect this? As an art collector himself, Mario had the ear of many artists.. his plan, to have artist’s design jewelry. By 1949, his idea came to fruition and his first exhibition of jewelry by artists was displayed in his lavish Baroque shop. Because all of the jewelry was made in the workshop of Masenza, it developed a certain recognizable look. The bright yellow gold color and hand of his craftsman became a style unto itself. And because it was executed by the jeweler, as opposed to the artist, the end product was not only a beautiful sculpture, but a wearable one. This necklace exquisitely reflects this concept. The artists’ design, translated into gold by the jeweler. Easy to wear with double hinges. Elegant and comfortable. For the discerning collector.