CONVERSATION

Carolina Castiglioni: The power of instrict

issue #31: The value of symbols

The Diary of Cynthia Vilchez, jewellery designer and founder of the Aliita brand, is the cover story of Issue #31, entitled: The value of symbols. Welcome to Caleido, an inspirational diary, that narrates many stories: about creative people, trends, travels, objects. / Read the Editor’s letter here.

Diary of: @aliita.official

Carolina Castiglioni: The power of instrict
1. Reflecting upon your past and childhood, is there a particular jewel that has particularly inspired you? One that is ideally always with you?

I think of two pieces in particular, which have been with me for as long as I can remember. They are two tiny diamond earrings, simple, with a carré cut. In my home country, Venezuela, it’s customary to pierce the ears of newborns, and so I have had these earrings since I was a child. I adore their simplicity, which has also influenced the style of my collections. The second piece that holds a special place in my heart is a decorative bracelet from my grandmother, which she gave me years ago. It features a gradient of diamonds, from a larger central one to smaller ones surrounding it. These are two pieces that feel particularly private and intimate, which is why I haven’t “replicated” them in my collection.

Carolina Castiglioni: The power of instrict
@aliita.official
Carolina Castiglioni: The power of instrict
@aliita.official
Carolina Castiglioni: The power of instrict
@aliita.official
Carolina Castiglioni: The power of instrict
@aliita.official
2. The name of your jewelry brand, Aliita, is both an anagram of “Italia” and a word meaning “important object” in Wayuu (the native language of the Guajiro indigenous people who lived in Zulia, Venezuela, where you were born and raised). What aspects of that world do you incorporate into your collections?

The influence of Venezuela comes almost naturally to me… I only realize it after completing each collection, when I observe the color palettes, enamels, and types of stones used: I recognize that color is predominant, but I can’t help it. Then there is the typical jewel component of meaning, understood as representation and storytelling; a medium capable of conveying emotions and arousing reactions such as smiling, sympathy or synergy. Pieces that become almost intimate because they encapsulate an intrinsic message, and it’s not just because they exist. This, for me, is the importance of my work.

Carolina Castiglioni: The power of instrict
@aliita.official
Carolina Castiglioni: The power of instrict
@aliita.official
3. So, in your opinion, do jewelry establish a kind of intimate connection? If so, in this dialogue, what role does nostalgia play?

Absolutely, I feel this connection unequivocally… I would describe it as intimate, but I think the right term is indeed “confidential.” Let’s think, for example, of a delicate necklace: it often remains timidly hidden under the shirt, invisible to others, and therefore connected to us only by a very subtle private link, invisible, a holder of a positive vibe that makes us feel good. Certainly, jewelry can also evoke more melancholic feelings like nostalgia. I think, for example, of the Flor line (which is inspired by flower petals): it is a tribute to the memory of my grandmother, a memory that oscillates between joy and melancholy for what has passed or seems distant.

Carolina Castiglioni: The power of instrict
@aliita.official
Carolina Castiglioni: The power of instrict
@aliita.official
Carolina Castiglioni: The power of instrict
@aliita.official
Carolina Castiglioni: The power of instrict
@aliita.official
4. Aliita’s jewelry is much more than simple ornaments; they are authentic talismans, carriers of deep meanings. But what are exactly the core values and messages that you communicate through your creations?

The “Pura” line, with its minimalist aesthetics and essential lines, tangibly represents how Aliita communicates deep meanings through her work. At first glance, it might seem like a series of jewelry, but in reality, each piece tells a profound story. This line took shape when I wanted to feel the presence of my family, scattered around the world, close to me. I wanted to create something that could constantly evoke the warmth and family energy, so I added the light bulb as a tribute to this idea. Later on, I introduced more playful elements, like the dinosaur, in honor of my children, with whom I spent hours talking about… dinosaurs! Despite the relatively small size of these jewelry pieces, their meaning is deeply emotional. It’s not just about display; it’s about a personal connection and memories that go far beyond the surface. But Aliita doesn’t stop there. The “Tuttifrutti” line is a perfect example of pure joy. Their craftsmanship is truly fascinating: each color is applied manually with a syringe and then baked in an oven for three hours to set every shade. Considering that some pieces require six or eight different colors, production is a long and artisanal process. What makes these jewelry even more special is that beneath those bright colors lies gold. It’s as if they cover something already precious with a new light, making the jewelry even more intimate for the wearer.

Carolina Castiglioni: The power of instrict
@aliita.official
Carolina Castiglioni: The power of instrict
@aliita.official
Carolina Castiglioni: The power of instrict
@aliita.official
5. How did you develop your personal style, and how does it reflect in the Aliita brand? Beyond the world of jewelry, are there other creative aspects, in the realms of art, music, or prose, that you believe have shaped your vision?

There’s no precise recipe for my style, but it’s a mix of various creative influences. Music, art exhibitions, travels, and immersing myself in new cultures are essential. Music, for example, has the power to evoke deep emotions and unleash an unstoppable creative force. Art exhibitions allow me to explore new forms of expression, while travel opens me up to new perspectives. All of this is reflected in my collections.

Carolina Castiglioni: The power of instrict
@aliita.official
Carolina Castiglioni: The power of instrict
@aliita.official
Carolina Castiglioni: The power of instrict
@aliita.official
Carolina Castiglioni: The power of instrict
@aliita.official
Carolina Castiglioni: The power of instrict
@aliita.official
6. Is there a particular experience or journey that continues to resonate in your collections? Is there something you wish to preserve in memory?

For me, this topic has two significant facets. Let’s start with the first aspect: living in Milan. The city is extraordinarily fascinating because it is steeped in design and offers a constant stream of exhibitions. This is in stark contrast to Maracaibo, my hometown, where museums are practically non-existent. In Milan, new exhibitions open every day, and this has been a profound change in my life. Additionally, some places hold a special place in my heart. Venice, for example, with its unique artistic atmosphere and, of course, frequent exhibitions. But there’s another place that has an extraordinary impact on me: the sea, especially in winter. I come from Maracaibo, a coastal city, and I’m also culturally connected to Aruba, a Caribbean island. Beyond literal elements like umbrellas and beach toys, simply being by the sea in winter can have an incredibly soothing effect. I believe it’s primarily a state of mind: a stimulating context that fosters creativity. For me, these two aspects are of fundamental importance.

Carolina Castiglioni: The power of instrict
@aliita.official
Carolina Castiglioni: The power of instrict
@aliita.official
Carolina Castiglioni: The power of instrict
@aliita.official
Carolina Castiglioni: The power of instrict
@aliita.official
7. Have you ever wished to express your creativity in a different way? Is there something else you would like to create?

I don’t rule out the idea of experimenting in other artistic fields… Although this question has never been asked of me before! I must say that when it comes to jewelry, creativity flows naturally for me, and I feel completely at ease. However, I am always open to exploring new artistic horizons. Since I was a child, I have been fascinated by small-scale objects, like miniature toys. I loved working with materials like clay. When I create jewelry, I truly feel in my element; it’s a place where I find serenity and focus.

Carolina Castiglioni: The power of instrict
@aliita.official
Carolina Castiglioni: The power of instrict
@aliita.official
Carolina Castiglioni: The power of instrict
@aliita.official
8. Have you ever thought about creating custom jewelry for someone? Would you like to do so? Is there a person, from the past or present, whom you admire and would like to honor with one of your jewelry pieces or see wearing one of your creations?

I haven’t had the opportunity yet, but I would love to! Looking back, it would have been an honor for me to create a piece of jewelry for @jaggerbianca, especially during her wedding when her iconic hair was in the spotlight. In that case, I would have designed a piece inspired by my “Petalos” line, perhaps earrings… Being a part of that moment would have been extraordinary!

Carolina Castiglioni: The power of instrict
@aliita.official
9. From a technical and material standpoint, are you experimenting with anything specific? Do you plan to use materials other than gold in your creations?

I love to experiment. We produced the cameo line, which is usually made on shell, by adapting it to porcelain. It was an interesting experience with its limitations. Speaking of shells, there are different kinds. We also worked with avocado and amanita, which is a green coral that comes from turquoise and, when oxidized, takes on a marble effect with veins, becoming very interesting. We like to challenge conventions, even though this process is often accompanied by a lot of skepticism. It is also a way to engage the artisans, the real artists, and push them to sound out new solutions. The jewelry world can be skeptical about new ideas, but then when the artisans see the finished product they appreciate the creativity, and they start to believe in it!

Carolina Castiglioni: The power of instrict
@aliita.official
Carolina Castiglioni: The power of instrict
@aliita.official
Carolina Castiglioni: The power of instrict
10. What is an object in your home that you would never give up? What is the memory attached to it? Would you send us a photo taken by you?

In my home, there’s a collection of small miniature perfumes that my grandmother, my mother, and I have been collecting for a long time. This precious collection is housed in a 1930s brass display cabinet that originally belonged to my grandmother in Aruba. My mother created a replica of this cabinet, and I wanted to preserve this family tradition. Apart from being a fond memory of my childhood, I find inspiration in the cabinet’s shape itself and the emotional transport it provides in that special corner of the house.

Carolina Castiglioni: The power of instrict

All images are taken from the interviewee’s Instagram account, and are an integral part of the interview’s editorial storytelling. See the interviewee’s Instagram account for full credits.

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