Supplier Spotlight – Giusto Manetti Battiloro
A. S. Handover stock a range of gold leaf from numerous suppliers, but none have such a rich and longstanding history as Giusto Manetti Battiloro.
Manetti gold leaf spans 15 generations and over 400 years, and to this day all Manetti products are melted, rolled, beaten, cut, and packaged in Italy, at the company’s headquarters just outside Florence.
Officially established in 1820, the beginning of Manetti’s story dates back to the fifteenth century, to a time where Leonardo da Vinci himself became fascinated by the miracle of transforming gold into gold leaf, right from the very beginning their name was associated with gold beating. Their first major achievement was to create the golden ball that completes the dome on St. Peter’s Basilica, designed by Michelangelo.
Fast forward to the Industrial Revolution and a member of the family traveled from 1811 to 1816, through Italy, Spain, France, and Prussia to learn more about new technologies being developed. Inspired by what he had witnessed, Luigi Manetti began the process of transforming the family’s artisan workshop into a factory and on his return, founded the Giusto Manetti Battiloro brand, in the same year they launched the first mechanised gold leaf production process.
The advancements in gold leaf prodcution allowed Manetti to begin exporting gold leaf all over Europe, then sadly came the first halt to production, the First World War broke out. During this time, workers were called to arms, including members of the Manetti family.
They suffered again during WW2, when they were mistaken for a weapons depot and the factory was completely destroyed by allied bombings, causing production to cease for almost 2 years.
After such monumental setbacks, Manetti persevered, rebuilt, and saw a lot of incredible advancements and great highlights. In 1953 they were turned to for an expert opinion by the British Museum on the degradation of the gilding on an ancient Egyptian sarcophagus, and similarily in 1956, NASA sought out their gold leaf expertise for advice on gilding the nose cones of rockets!
Sadly it wasn’t too long before there was another major set back to production, in 1966 the Arno river burst its banks and flooded the whole of Florence, almost completely destroying the company’s headquarters again as well as damaging beyond repair millions of masterpieces of art and rare books held in Florence at the time.
Manetti’s adaptability and desire to invest in the future means that today they have an impressive headquarters where all of the gold and silver leaf production and packaging stages are carried out, just a few kilometres from where the company’s history began back in the 1600s.
The gold used for the production of Manetti gold leaf is proudly purchased through banking institutions that guarantee its purity and they use exclusively “no-conflict gold” meaning the gold comes from areas where there are no ongoing conflicts or violations of human rights.
If you want to learn more about the incredible history of Manetti, head over to their new website which is full of incredible photos and information, as well as a ‘Wikigold‘ section, that has yet more information, including details on Leonardo da Vinci’s gold beating machine!
We will be returning to Manetti later on this blog to have a closer look at some of the products!
Shop Manetti gold here!