From Del Grano's site
"Smoker" july-august 2001
The Maestro's Pipe
Introducing the most recent Del Grano creation, the company specialized in the realization of precious objects for smokers. This collection is dedicated by those with a passion for pipes to collectors that smoke. It all began from an innate passion for research, for esthetic perfection, for extraordinary art that are the very roots of ancient manufacturing. To safeguard the artisan heritage of quality: this and more is at the heart of Del Grano, a privately owned company established by an engineer who loves muses more than mathematics, of which the most recent creation is an exquisite pipe dedicated to Giuseppe Verdi. Found here as well, are the roots of a love shared for the common land. Alberto Del Grano is an engineer from Parma, with the Maestro's music running in his veins. Obviously, one of his most special objects could not but be dedicated to the composer, Italian celebrity in the world, for the 100th anniversary of his death. Alberto Del Grano is a loyal pipe smoker and a fan , although a little less frequently, of cigars. For years, he has let the artistic endowments, inherited from a family that has always leaned towards art, be the catalyst in the creation of refined and precious objects in which the form, colors and materials are harmoniously balanced.
In fact, from his family's genealogical tree personalities emerge such as Giorgio Gandini Del Grano, boasted Parmesan painter who had worked between the 15th and 16th centuries, or, in more recent times, Riccardo Fainardi nominated impressionist painter, Parmesan as well, who painted his travel memoirs while at his Capri residence.
In reality, Alberto Del Grano has adventured further on a new frontier with his creativity: encircling himself with the absolute best of the still active artisans, he has endowed his pieces with originality, uniqueness and exclusiveness that make the Del Grano signature something truly special. This is how it all came to be ---the shellac polished tobacco boxes were born-a refined technique, but that has almost practically disappeared- cigar cases, humidors, ashtrays, cigar gauges and other accessory items, all destined to a tight circle of connoisseurs and those passionate for refinement Therefore, only limited numbered series are designed as if they were to be placed on his very own studio shelves, or, at best, shared amongst a small circle of friends and those few able to appreciate them.
"The pieces that I have created to house cigars-he explains-are made of briar wood enhanced with a yellow gold ring and diamond setting. There are a variety of models, meticulously studied for the cigar formats already existent on the market, ranging from single cigar tubes to the classic pack containers. Naturally, rigid materials live on soft and rounded forms. Here I worked for harmony in colors: the warmth in the briar's color enriched by the gold's sparkle and resplendence of the diamond's purity, which is not just an embellishment but becomes, in fact, the focus of ones attention towards the luminous point of light that gives soul to the object."
Ashtrays are another triumph of the house: here the skillfully carved marble enfolds castings of noble metals, following an antique technique that has become of late a truly personal artistic heritage for the very few remaining artisans. But, the greatest passion has been entrusted in the creation of pipes, the pieces he loves as do those who are loyal pipe smokers. The high quality briar woods are personally selected by him, in Tuscany, then transformed into ìjeweledî pipes where the perfect workmanship is the companyís pride, as is the satisfaction of seeing it in the hands of authentic connoisseurs. Del Grano is in fact one of the few ìrealitiesî specialized in the unique, creative craftsmanship of extreme formal elegance, as in the black lacquered pipe with its white gold and diamond setting, an object that was designed purposely for those gala evenings and the perfect gentleman.Unique in the world, an object of art Its impeccably styled box made with high quality woods and leather strapping, almost reminds one of the old travel trunks used by the gentlemen being part of the Gran Tour; premium choice briar, crafted with an almost maniacal precision; an application and particular execution technique of yellow gold on white gold and the bas-relief imprint giving life to the composerís image. Precision in technical execution, experience and optimum artisan skills, a rarity these days, this is what Del Grano has created: the exceptional Giuseppe Verdi pipe commemorating the 100th anniversary of his death. The pipe has been produced in a limited numbered series of 999 pieces and they are available only to those few connoisseurs in the world. It is a very refined piece, that now is added to the others, already appreciated and coveted by those overseas connoisseurs, attentive to the elegance and detailing imposed by the ìmade in Italy.î A pipe that goes beyond the value of materials becoming an affirmation of a status symbol, not only for collectors, but also for tried and true art aficionados. Smoking connoisseurs will not be deluded when lighting up.