By Michelle Graff
New York--Gianmaria Buccellati, the honorary president of family-owned Italian jewelry company Buccellati, has died following an illness. He was 86.

“My brothers and their families, and his wife Rosie, we are all close to him and we would like to remember him as a fierce and creative man, with our deepest affection and admiration,” his son and the brand’s head designer Andrea Buccellati wrote in an email. “We want to share with you this very difficult moment; this is what he would have liked to do, because you were all very important to him, as you always contributed to make his dreams come true.”

Buccellati was born in 1929 in Milan, 10 years after his father opened the first Buccellati boutique, called Mario Buccellati, in the Italian city.

He spent his life in the jewelry industry and helped grow the reputation of Buccellati outside of Italy.

In 1973, Gianmaria Buccellati established the Italian Gemological Institute with a group of colleagues, going on to serve as president of the organization for the next 25 years.

Four years later, he opened a Buccellati flagship store on Place Vendome in Paris, and in 2001 he was at the helm when the brand launched its first watch collection in Geneva during the International Fine Watchmaking Fair.

Just last year, the brand launched a new store concept in New York with a showroom and event space. At the time of its opening, the 6,480-square-foot space was the brand’s biggest boutique.

Services for Buccellati took place Monday at the Basilica of San Babila in Milan. 

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