On Thursday, June 4th, 2020, Italy lost a rising star in the jewelry industry.
Roberto Faraone Mennella died at the age of 48 after an extended battle with cancer. His boyfriend and business partner, Amedeo Scognamiglio, informed the world of Mennella’s passing through an Instagram post which read, “Robu is finally free, healthy, smiling, happily sketching jewels and interiors in his new home in Heaven. He wanted to go before me, so that when my time comes our house and showroom in the sky will be ready to welcome me and my mess.”
Mennella was born in Torre del Greco, Italy where he spent most of his childhood. He briefly studied law at the University of Naples before he enrolled at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City. On Mennella’s website, it states his grandmother Stella was the one who encouraged him to start a career focused on design.
In 2001, Mennella and Scognamiglio teamed up and launched their jewelry brand, RFMAS. Initially a New York City-based brand, their creations quickly caught on and expanded into Los Angeles, London, Beijing, and Capri. The duo won the 2006 Rising Star Award from Fashion Group International as well as the 2017 Andrea Palladio Award for Best Italian Jewelry Designer.
RFMAS creations have been featured on productions like Sex and the City and the Devil Wears Prada. They even designed a piece for director Spike Lee, which he wore at the 2019 Oscars. The necklace was made of 18-carat gold, 2-carat diamond, and 17-carat cabochon fire opal.
Their jewelry has been sold in stores like Bergdorfs and Neiman Marcus. They also created an inexpensive jewelry line for QVC and the Home Shopping Channel.
Mennella will be remembered for his innovative creations, his strength, and his kindness.
His official instagram page wrote, “Only true love can create such Art. Forever.”