MUSEOWEB dell'economia varesina

Ditta Socci Dante srl

Historical Profile

The establishment of the enterprise

In 1895, Dante Socci opened a goldsmith's workshop in Gallarate on vicolo del Torchio.

Originally from Lustignano, in the province of Pisa, Dante began his apprenticeship as a goldsmith in Tuscany, then later worked at a goldsmith's workshop in Valenza and finally ended up in Gallarate, where he was employed by Paolo Colombo.

During the early twentieth century, after the workshop had been moved to its new location on Via Volta, Dante's son, Luigi, joined his father's enterprise, bringing with him an excellent propensity for commercial activities, as well as the technical skills acquired from his father, thus resulting in the further growth of the company. New machinery was purchased, the number of employees grew and the workshop specialized in manufacturing rings for men and women. All of this led to the need for additional space and the workshop ultimately moved to its current location at number 15 Via Cavallotti. In 1925, the sole proprietorship of Dante Socci was registered at the Chamber of Commerce as a silver and goldsmith's workshop, and the business purpose was extended in 1935 to include "wholesale, and possibly retail, trade in precious objects in general."

 From the 1940s to the 1970s

When Dante Socci passed away in 1942, his son, Luigi, took over his father's business under the name of "Dante Socci di Luigi Socci", registering the new enterprise at the Chamber of Commerce.

Luigi became involved in exporting gold and silver jewelry, as well as costume jewelry, and importing watches and synthetic stones from Switzerland and South America.

In 1955, Luigi Socci passed away prematurely, leaving the business to his wife, Anna Allaria, and his two daughters, Maria and Elvira, who had not yet come of age.

Luigi's widow decided to carry on the business and, after obtaining a court order authorizing the emancipation of her daughters, she transformed the sole proprietorship into a de facto company under the name of "Dante Socci di eredi di Luigi Socci". From the late 1940s to the 1960s, the company developed its activities by establishing collaboration relationships with a number of local businesses, as well as with various gold companies in Valenza Po and the company Fabbricazione Italiana Catene in Milan.

Despite outsourcing part of its production to these collaborators, the number of company employees rose to a total of thirty.

During this period, production was mainly based on the investment casting technique, while a residual portion was carried out using the moulding technique, the typical method employed by Gallarate goldsmiths.

In 1961, Maria Socci married Francesco Tronconi, who thus joined the enterprise and took charge of administrative matters.

 From the 1970s to the present

In the 1970s, increased competition on behalf of large Italian companies in the areas of Arezzo and Vicenza led the company to favour more traditional production techniques. The company therefore returned to the Valenza style in order to offer more unique items. This decision led the company to specialize in the niche market of average quality Florentine style jewelry. In this manner, the company was able to offer stores a wider selection and had the possibility of creating more original designs around the gemstone.

In the early 1980s, the company became a general partnership and, subsequently, went on to become the limited liability company that it remains to this day. Today, one of the problems that must be addressed in order to ensure excellent product quality is the difficulty in recruiting skilled craftsmen. The "investment casting" technique requires highly qualified personnel, who do not always establish long lasting working relationships with company.

It is the family, therefore, that provides for continuity: between 1994 and 1995, the company was joined by Maria's sons, Francesco and Dante, as well as by Elvira's daughter, Maria Giovanna.

Over the past five years, the Socci company has focused its activities on the continuous creation of new models. This has been necessary in order to avoid the risk of being copied by foreign competitors in Turkey, India and China. Today, the company's production has decreased with respect to that of the past. The initial abandonment of the moulding technique, followed by the more recent outsourcing of the gold casting process to specialized companies, has emptied the spaces that were previously occupied by the goldsmith's workshop and its craftsmen. The company's activities are increasingly focused on jewelry design and marketing. For these purposes, the family is able to rely upon the wealth of knowledge and skills that it has acquired in over a century on the market, which are attested to by its vast archive of original designs and models.