Mario Roca and Fiona Wood, partners in life and work, co-founded RocaWood in 2008.
Mario and Fiona design and craft unique jewelry pieces in their atelier-workshop in the historic center of Como.
RocaWood is the fusion of Fiona's creative abilities and Mario's manual and technical skills, which led them to the creation of a unique and distinguishable style.
Our beginnings couldn’t have been more different.
Mario was born in Ascoli Satriano, Puglia, in 1965 and moved with his family to Milan at the age of 5.
Whilst completing his high school at evening classes, he began working as an apprentice with a master jeweler, learning the secrets of his art the only way really viable: day by day, slowly, by osmosis.
He discovered a profession well suited to his nature: patient, precise, mathematical. A decade later, master of his trade, he established an atelier workshop creating one off fine jewelry commissions for private clients.
This led to collaborations with niche fine jewelry houses and he became a model maker, translating designs into three dimensional prototypes ready for production.
Fiona was born in Liverpool, UK, in 1969 and grew up on the River Dee estuary close to Liverpool.
She moved to Paris in 1989, and finally chose Italy as her definitive home in 1995.
After completing a jewelry making course in Paris she worked for several years as an artist creating one off sculptural pieces of jewelry, exhibiting in Milan, Paris and London.
This led spontaneously to collaborations and consulting contracts with jewelry brands.
In 2011 she was appointed Head of the Jewelry Design Department at the IED University in Milan, where she remained for 4 years.
She has been dedicated solely to RocaWood since 2015.
We met at the workbench, in our respective roles as designer and model maker, and our professional complicity becomes essential.
It felt audacious to set up a jewelry business in 2008, in the midst of a global crisis, but our intuition was solid. We wanted to get back to basics, back to having a one to one relationship with our clients and with the jewelry we make.
The world has changed so much and so fast in the past decade that the human dimension and authenticity that underlies RocaWood is more necessary for us than ever before.
Today we share a house in the woods, two dogs, three cats and a business, which has recently turned into a full-fledged family business. Alice and Davide, two of our four children, have recently joined the RocaWood team.
We can honestly say that we have embraced the challenge of sharing our lives together!
It may be hard work at times, and the expectations placed on the work we create are often high voltage, but we both know how lucky we are to still be able to choose, even today, to create jewelry, and to be able to do it together.
This is what makes every day of our work precious and fulfilling.
The creative process
The way we approach the design process varies greatly depending on if we are making a personal work, those you can find in the Collections section, or a bespoken commissioned piece, which you can find in the Commissions & Restyling section.
The pieces you find in the Collections are personal and intimate works and are all exclusive designs. This jewelry is the fleshing out of an emotion, translating a ‘feeling’ into a sculpted form.
We rarely design on paper: these shapes are sculpted directly in the carving wax. Fiona often draws the shapes afterwards as a way of getting to know them fully! These works are fruit of a visceral, intuitive approach, more artist than designer.
These sculpted three dimensional designs span almost three decades, and we have hundreds of shapes and designs in our archive patiently waiting for their moment!
The inspiration can be multi fold and varied. It is always a creative response to something that has touched us in our everyday lives: a conversation, a piece of music, a phrase, the waves of the sea, a twig on a bush, a rosebud. Anything will do!
Made to measure: Commissions & Restyling
The creative process behind a custom-created piece of jewelry couldn’t be more different.
These are bespoken works, with a specific intention on behalf of the customer.
Our job here is to first and foremost listen and translate your wishes into a proposal.
In the case of restyling heritage jewelry we can analyze together the possible elements or stones that you wish to keep and modernize. We then provide some quick sketches and a range of approximate quotes to understand in which direction to proceed with materials and craftsmanship.
The initial consultation and sketches are non binding.
If you don’t proceed with the commission, they remain in our archive for our future reference. If you do decide to proceed, we require a non refundable deposit payment depending on the type of design.
We then proceed to design a proposal and once the design concept is fine tuned and approved, we provide a specific quote and timeline for delivery.
This sartorial approach is an exciting and surprising journey. It requires a particular participation on your behalf, but the emotion of owning or receiving a piece of jewelry that you have in part 'designed' is unique in every sense.
To learn more visit the Commissions & Restyling page.
Each and every piece of our jewelry is handmade by Mario and our small team of in-house goldsmiths in our workshop-atelier in Como.
All phases of creation are meticulously fabricated by hand. The shapes are generally sculpted in the carving wax specific for jewelry making, and then cast using the lost wax process. The wax shape becomes immersed in plaster and molten metal is injected, melting the wax and filling the exact shape the wax previously occupied. Each piece is then refined by hand, becoming a truly unique piece.
The metals we currently work with are: silver, 9kt and 18kt rose gold, 18kt white gold, 18kt yellow gold, platinum.
There are no shortcuts to making harmonious jewelry. Even the simplest of pieces is the result of a multitude of technical skills, and thanks to Mario's training in the art of fine jewelry making, we have the technical expertise to take on pretty much any project.