This was the definition of the valueless material used to make the jewels of Casalmaggiore. The Bijou Museum gathers, exhibits and gives value to the production of the costume jewelery that has made this small town of Cremona, a small capital of the gold-plated for almost a century: rings and earrings, cuff links and badges, necklaces and pins that testify Italian taste and style.
The educational service of the museum is extended to schools of all types and levels and it is open all year round by reservation only. Moreover, the museum organises workshops on metals and materials, history or fashion analyzed through jewellery, processing techniques and artistic creation.
Cost: 4 euros per student; duration: about 2 hours.
Guided tours and laboratory activities intended for touristic groups, creation of bijoux courses, exhibitions and conferences: the organized ventures are numerous and they are aimed at intriguing people who are fond of vintage and antiques, to discover art and beauty in more than 20 thousand of ornament objects, deepening studies or urging curiosities.
The bijou Museum, instituted in 1986 and set up in the current headquarters 10 years later, is located in the basement floor of the ex boarding school “Santa Croce”, building built by “Padri Barnabiti” around the middle of the eighteenth century; The museum specialises in historical and industrial heritage, which includes ornamental articles and accessories produced by the various factories in Casalmaggiore from the end of 1800s to 1970s. In addition to the traditional pieces of costume jewellery (brooches, cuff links, bracelets, belts, earrings, pendants), there are powder compacts, lipstick cases, cigarette cases, sunglasses, devotional medals, shields.
The original equipment coming from ancient factories of Casalmaggiore, varying tools for the production of the costume jewelery, vintage catalogues, documents and photographies that offer across section of the life of the industrial district of costume jewelery of Casalmaggiore is located alongside the objects. The permanent exposition is supplemented by 2 laboratories (a professional one and a didactive one) and by a designated space for the centre of information.
The bijou industry in Casalmaggiore started in a small workshop – which turned into a laboratory on Giulio Galluzzi’s initiative (Codogno, 1855 – Casalmaggiore, 1932) who was able to realize the first gold plated metal sheet in 1882. An influential and prosperous business originated right from this lucky experience. As early as 1887 it exported its products even in Latin America under the brand “G.G.”. In the late 1920s, Giulio Galluzzi company, Società Federale Orefici, established in 1905, and Il Placcato company, operational since 1920, merged with a new company, Società Anonima Fabbriche Riunite Placcato Oro.
Since the early thirties, the production of “fantasy” costume jewelery started next to the “bijou d’imitation”, made by shapes and new materials, strongly tied to the style and, influenced by political, religious, social, athletic, military question. Also the diversification of the production dates back to this time, tendency that is accentuated in the postwar: also sunglasses, radios, television sets, recordings and finally electric cars were produced in the 1945; the same denomination of the company, from “Fabbriche Riunite Placcato Oro”, became “Fabbriche Industrie Riunite” (FIR).
As a consequence of the complete transformation of production implemented by the company in the middle 1970s – which led to the closure of jewellery product lines -, the whole sample set would have been lost if it hadn’t been for the praiseworthy initiative of Associazione Amici del Bijou di Casalmaggiore (mostly consisting of former employees and chaired by Dr. Francesco Zaffanella), which took action to establish an industrial archaeology museum in which the collection was reorganized. The assets of FIR was given to the Comune of Casalmaggiore in 1985.
From Tuesday to Saturday: 10.00-12.00 and 15.00-18.00; Sunday and holidays: 15.00-19.00
Every first Sunday of the month entry is free
The museum is accessible also to disabled
The staff of the museum is gladly at the disposal of disabled people to facilitate the entry to the different spaces, considering that the configuration of the structure does not allow the entry of every architecture barrier. It’s recommended to get in touch with the following phone number to agree upon the best solutions.
Full priced ticket: £ 3.00
Reduced price: 2.50 euros (under 25, over 65, groups of more than 15 people)
Free entry for: children under 6, disabled, journalists, teachers and Musei Lombardia Milano subscriptions holders.
Combined ticket Museo del Bijou – Museo Diotti 4.50 euros
Thematic routes and workshops (by reservation only): 4.00 euros per student (min 15 people)
Guided tour (by reservation only, min 12, max 25 people): 45.00 euros per group
Group work BijouXtutti: 60.00 euros per group
Custodian: Dr. Letizia Frigerio
Comune of Casalmaggiore (Ufficio Cultura): Tel. 0375284424 – Fax 0375200251 – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Museo del Bijou – Tel. 0375205344
Public library “A.E. Mortara” – Tel: 037543682
Via Porzio, 9 - 26041 Casalmaggiore (CR)