The Casa dates to the era of Ferdinando II, Bourbon king of the Two Sicilies. In 1855, young Giovanni
Ascione, born in 1834 in the seaside village of Torre del Greco, launched a new business for the processing
of natural coral, long harvested from local waters. His first creations, in clean and simple lines of neoclassical inspiration, demonstrated the highest standards of artisanry.
Through the mid-19th century, styles were heavily influenced by archaeological discoveries and by the
canons of the Renaissance. Casa Ascione soon achieved recognition for its interpretations, exclusively in
precious coral. In these years the Casa won repeated prizes in international expositions, including gold medals at the World Fairs of Porto in 1865, and Vienna in 1873.
With the rise of Naturalism in the late 19 century, Casa Ascione explored the themes of flowers, leaves
and fruits, typical of this movement. Drawing on designers and skilled artisans, the Casa developed a vast
commercial portfolio of rich and joyful expression.
In 1875, the Neapolitan Office of the Kingdom of Italy notified the Royal Family: “Giovanni Ascione … is the
sole artist of Torre del Greco working with such precision in the fabrication of coral and jewellery, … and
who enjoys excellent fame abroad. His atelier is the most decorous and important for work of artistic
genius, and of great value.” With this, Vittorio Emanuele II saw fit to award Casa Ascione the inclusion of
the arms of the House of Savoy in its brand.
In 1876, Casa Ascione embarked for America. After winning the gold medal for “Beauty in Jewellery” at the
International Exhibition of Philadelphia, Domenico delegated his eldest son, Giovanni, to open a branch
office in New York.
The company continued to experiment in new materials and techniques. Through precisely calculated
incision of the layers of cowry shell, artisans could exploit its hidden colours: the art of glyptochromy was
In the early 1900s “Giovanni & Sons” moved from the original location on the Torre Del Greco harbour-
front to a new headquarters in the town centre, with purpose-designed studios. In these years the
jewellery creations assumed more sinuous and dynamic effects, still with natural elements – all
distinguishing characteristics of Art Nouveau. In addition to high-quality series production, the company
began to produce unique pieces for an ever more demanding international clientele, not only in coral, but
also in shell, mother of pearl, ivory and tortoise-shell.
In 1905 Italy crowned a new king, Vittorio Emanuele III, who again awarded the Casa the warrant of royal
supplier. Following the death of Giovanni, Giuseppe Ascione assumed the lead, pursuing highly modern
principles in further developing the organisation.
In the period following the Great War, Casa Ascione experimented with the production of bijouterie in new
styles, in keeping with the fashions of the années folles, while still continuing more traditional themes.
With care and illuminated management, the Ascione brothers developed an atelier of highly qualified
artisans, producing true works of art for a select clientele.
In these years the Casa received many commissions from international jewellers, the European aristocracy
and the Italian royal family. The Ascione studios became centres of research and experimentation,
producing a vast array of unique pieces – not only jewels, but also decorative and liturgical objects. Today
these works are avidly sought on the art and collectors’ markets.
In 1938, the Ascione ateliers received the visit of Princess Marie-José of Belgium, wife of Crown Prince
Umberto II. On the occasion, the company presented her with a precious sautoir in crochet technique, in nine different shades of Mediterranean precious corals, from palest rose to intense red.
In the late 1930s, Giovanni Ascione, Giuseppe’s son, began to influence the directions of company production.
Beginning with his education in the ateliers, the very young Giovanni (1915-1994) immediately demonstrated the gifts of a remarkable artistic personality.
Within the overall production, Giovanni established a personal space that allowed him to apply and refine his talents as a designer.
The product range achieved new levels of originality and quality. The works of Giovanni Ascione are still especially sought for their inspired reinterpretation of artisanal traditions, and their intense research in
working the materials.
Giovanni participated with enthusiasm in the cultural and artistic life of the times. The stimuli and inspirations gained in return are clearly visible in his jewellery, produced from the 1930s to late 1980s.
Under Giovanni’s guidance, Casa Ascione produced jewels of pure design: documents of the creative currents through all the decades of his production.
The company consolidated its focus on creativity and highest quality. Gold and silver smiths, jewel-workers and engravers, guided by Giovanni’s able hand and sensitivity, enriched the patrimony of technical knowledge and refined the artistic sensibilities that are still the unique force of Casa Ascione.
Giovanni Ascione never abandoned his personal drive to push the tenets of design, and to further develop the materials and techniques of his field: the result is an uncommonly rich artistic history.
The 1970s were a period of great creative and commercial success for Giovanni Ascione and the company: an even greater accomplishment considering the tendency to stagnation in the sector, through the later 20 century.
The selections proposed in the company catalogues never failed to keep time with the trends, including through the 1980s – a period marked by bold colours, strong silhouettes, anti-conformity – yet always retaining a sense of taste.
Five of Giovanni’s children – Giuseppe, Mauro, Caterina, Marco and Giancarlo – entered the company.
Together, the family handled the delicate generational passage, and by the 1990s the management was in new hands. Here we see a brooch created for the Government of Italy on the occasion of the 1974 G7 in Naples, for presentation to Hilary Clinton.
The group continues to expand its global contacts, always in search of inspirations and suggestions, always exploring tastes and styles. The collections of the early 2000s are noted for their essential lines and pure forms.
Casa Ascione is more than jewellery: fashion and interior accessories and applications with textiles and leather enrich the collections, opening up new creative areas.
In recent years, Casa Ascione has gained energy through new emphasis on unique interpretations of “Italian
style”, destined for greater global markets. The newest collections add informal and youthful glamour, yet
still, for the discerning, with references to ancient traditions.
Since 1855 the Ascione brand has distinguished itself with its sophisticated rigor, interpreting trends in taste and fashion in jewelry and goldwork.
For more than one hundred and fifty years its production has reflected modern styles in ever new forms.