The foci of Italian jeweler Annamaria Zanella are research into materials, the inherent poetry of the design process, and subversion of commonly held assumptions about beauty and value. Some writers have indeed referred to her jewels as “poor,” a welcome contradiction in terms, as jewelry is traditionally regarded to be made from precious metals and gemstones, and her “microsculptures” are often made from corroded or distressed metal and banal substances. Born in Padua, the center of contemporary gold jewelry in Italy, Zanella received a degree in Metals and Jewelry Design from Istituto Statale d’Arte “Pietro Selvatico,” there. She also studied enamels at Fachhochschule für Gestaltung in Pforzheim and sculpture at Academy of Fine Arts, Venice. She has been in countless international solo and group exhibitions; and her work is included in numerous permanent collections, among them Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Palais du Louvre, Paris; Kunstgewerbemuseum, Berlin; Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich; Schmuckmuseum Pforzheim; and Museum of Arts and Design, New York. She has won many awards, most notably the Herbert Hofmann Prize (1997 and 2006) and Bayerischer Staatspries, Gold Medal (2002).