Michele della Valle, who was born in Rome, began designing costume jewellery at the age of 16. During a trip to Burma in 1976, della Valle purchased his first stone and on the advice of friends, he showed it to Roger Varenne, the legendary stone dealer, who suggested that he take the gem to Christie's. His meeting with Hans Nadelhoffer, who was running the jewellery department at the time, was the motivating factor which contributed to the significant development of della Valle's career as a precious stone dealer and jewellery designer. In 1976, he worked for a year at Fürst Jewellers in Via Veneto, Rome, which was then the representative of Harry Winston. In 1978, della Valle opened his own workshop in Rome's Piazza di Spagna and began travelling regularly to Asia in search of precious stones. This was the beginning of a collaboration with Bulgari on special orders and his recognition as a new designer by a clientele of film stars and opera singers throughout Italy. In 1987, he moved to Geneva and developed a line of jewellery which now bears his name.
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