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Necklace Cornelian shell, gilt metal (pinchbeck), enamels
XIX century

De Simone Fratelli
Collection


WAR REPARATIONS

Don Michele did not manage to return to London until 1946. But Hatton Garden, the prestigious jewellers’ district where the Michele De Simone & Company had had its base, had been reduced to a heap of rubble. Nothing had escaped the German bombardments. It was a bitter pill for Don Michele to swallow but he accepted the damage in silence and tried to start from scratch once again. A few weeks later Don Michele, who meanwhile had returned to Italy, met a young lawyer by the name of Raffaele Torrese in his native city. He confided in him and told him about Hatton Garden, the rubble that had deprived him of his fortune and his despair at the sight of seeing the fruit of his labour in ruins. The young man suggested applying for compensation from the government. It would involve a long and complex procedure which Don Michele was initially reluctant to contemplate. In the end, however, he was convinced by the bright newly-qualified lawyer and left the matter with him, promising him half of the money if he managed to win the case. Due recognition for the young lawyer’s determination was to arrive many years later, partly thanks to the help of Mr. Friedline, a Jewish jeweller who had no hesitation in giving evidence on behalf of his Italian colleague. For Don Michele and his wife, this symbolic reimbursement represented a symbol of continuity: from its origins as a craft workshop, the Michele De Simone & Company had developed into an international import/export company specialising in coral, cameos and tortoiseshell. 

© De Simone Fratelli Srl Via Roma, 4 P.O. Box 230 80059 Torre del Greco Napoli, Italy