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Swiss jewellery designer Suzanne Syz unveils epic art collection at Tuscan vineyard home

The jewellery designer and art collector shows us around her stunning villa and vineyard estate deep in the Tuscan countryside

Suzanne Syz country home in Tuscany with vineyard
9 March 2024
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It seems there’s nothing Suzanne Syz can’t do. With her ex-husband, Eric Syz – on the board of whose bank she sits – she’s built a huge collection of contemporary art by the likes of Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Cindy Sherman.

But Swiss-born Suzanne is best known for her own creations, luxury jewels so playful and colourful that they easily qualify as Pop Art themselves. From the first design she sold – to movie legend Elizabeth Taylor – to her 1,001st, she spent two decades dazzling women worldwide.

Suzanne Syz posing in Tuscany home in orange mini dress with two dogs© CESAR VILLORIA

Then, in 2019, she began pouring her considerable energies into a whole new venture: a historic wine estate in Tuscany. Now Suzanne is ready to show off beautiful Fattoria di Caspri, whose villa dates back to Roman times. And she tells us: "Art, jewellery, wines; they’re all creative projects. I have an active mind; I need new challenges all the time. And as I am an incurable optimist, I always believe that things will work out."

Trusting her instinct has proved a sound strategy, Suzanne says, ever since she and Eric headed to NewYork as newlyweds. She recalls: "It was the 1980s, I was 22 years old and New York was the place to be. I was a friend of the great Bruno Bischofberger, gallerist, collector and discoverer of the greatest talents of the times. He opened my eyes to the incredible moment we were living through. I met Annina Nosei, who organised the first Jean-Michel Basquiat show in her gallery while he was still painting graffiti in the subway. I helped her hang the paintings. I was especially fond of Jean-Michel and liked to go to his atelier and watch how he mixed the paints."

Suzanne Syz hallway featuring artwork wooden beams and fur rug© CESAR VILLORIA


When the couple's first child Marc was born in 1982, her then-husband made a special gift to her: a portrait of mother and son by Warhol, who was then at the height of his fame. But when she went to his studio, The Factory, to pick it up, Suzanne couldn’t hide her disappointment. 

Suzanne Syz living room with world map wall art and vaulted ceiling © CESAR VILLORIA

"Andy asked: 'What’s wrong?' and I answered shyly: 'It’s very nice, but it’s not me; I look tight-lipped and serious when I’m actually a cheerful person.' 'How would you like to look?' he said. And I ventured: 'Well, I’d like to be smiling.'

A while later, she got a call to say the new portrait was ready. "I went running over there, worrying: 'If I don’t like it now, what do I do?’ When I arrived, there were three gorgeous paintings leaning against the wall. 'What do you think?’ asked Andy. 'They’re fantastic, I love them and I don’t know which one to choose,' I answered." And he said: 'You’re the only person who’s dared to give me their opinion, so I’ve decided to sell you all three for the price of one.' He was amused that I’d been so sincere!”

Suzanne Syz dining table with quirky chandelier and red tablecloth© CESAR VILLORIA


The couple welcomed a second son, Nicolas, three years later. But sadly, before they were able to commission his portrait, Andy Warhol had died. The family feel fortunate that they have three wonderful pictures to remember him by, one of which belongs to Suzanne, one to Marc and one to Nicolas. At the end of the 1980s, the Syzes returned to Switzerland, where Eric founded the private Banque Syz. As for Suzanne, with her boys growing up fast, she became bored as a full-time mum. So, since she’d always enjoyed drawing and liked jewellery, she set about designing for herself the kind of precious yet light-hearted pieces she wanted and couldn’t find.

Suzanne Syz living room with exposed beams brown leather sofa and colour clashing prints© CESAR VILLORIA

"I’m a perfectionist so I began to study gemology and jewellery-making techniques. Back then, men dominated that world and they looked down on me as ‘another one of those rich ladies who entertains herself designing jewellery’. But over time, little by little, I won their respect."


Suzanne Syz wearing leather maxi skirt and red knit posing at home© CESAR VILLORIA

With a prestigious Swiss workshop bringing her ideas to life, by 2005 she was ready to launch her own brand and that’s when fate took a hand. On a trip to Los Angeles, she was invited to a dinner party, for which she wore her latest creation, a spectacular triple-stranded turquoise necklace set with a pink sapphire rose. When the guests sat down, she found herself opposite the world’s most glamorous jewellery lover, Elizabeth Taylor.

Suzanne Syz bedroom with pink rug and velvet bed © CESAR VILLORIA

"Elizabeth was watching me so intently that I began to wonder if there was something wrong with me. Finally she said: 'Forgive my boldness, but your necklace is stunning.'" 'Thank you, it’s my own design,' I told her. 'Can I buy it?' she asked. "The next day, I went to her home in BelAir. She kept me waiting for three hours, surrounded by her movie stills, then at last she appeared. Splendorous, with her hair and make-up done and wearing a fabulous kaftan. She tried the necklace on, smiled excitedly and thanked me effusively. That was my first sale and Elizabeth Taylor was my first customer!"

Suzanne Syz home featuring black dog sleeping on red lip shaped couch© CESAR VILLORIA

Suzanne says her designs are for women who appreciate originality and aren’t afraid to make a statement. "I was one of the first to set gems in titanium and aluminium rather than gold and platinum. My jewels have presence; I use big stones, different colours and unusual shapes."

Suzanne Syz bedroom with wooden floors geometric print rug and white ceilings© CESAR VILLORIA


Having reached the top of her profession –her fruit-basket earrings now belong to the permanent collection at Paris’s Musée des Arts Décoratifs – Suzanne came to a decision. She decided that she would complete a total of 1,001 pieces then rest. At the end of 2019, she hit that figure and headed to her house in Tuscany to chill out with her beloved pet dogs." I had always loved this area of Italy. When I bought the estate in 2007, the vineyards were half-dead and full of chemicals. The villa, built by Casperius Aelianus, praetorian prefect under the Roman emperor Domitian in around 80AD, was in ruins and so were the other buildings, which date back to the 18th century."

Suzanne Syz Tuscany home exterior with shaded seating area © CESAR VILLORIA

Shortly after Suzanne’s arrival, the Covid pandemic hit and while spending lockdown at Fattoria di Caspri she began to see its full potential. She set about the serious business of restoring the place to all its former glory and producing her own organic wine and olive oil. It took four and a half years and she says she couldn’t have done it without Bertrand Habsiger, wine expert and manager of three Michelin-starred restaurants, whom she describes as "the soul and essence of this place".

Suzanne Syz posing in Tuscany home with four pet dogs© CESAR VILLORIA

"For me, viniculture is a new world. We produce about 35,000 bottles each year, growing the vines without pesticides in a biodynamic way in harmony with nature." Fattoria di Caspri is both her home and her passion project, one that constantly inspires her, she says. So she completely agrees with the visitor who told her: "You didn’t find this house. It found you." Not that it takes up all her energy. Following constant requests from customers, she has returned to jewellery making. "I felt I was missing something. When you’re devoted to creativity, you can’t just ignore it. It’s like collecting art, you can’t just give it up. Sometimes you go a bit over budget, but that’s life!"

Suzanne Syz garden in Tuscany home with tree shaded hammock© CESAR VILLORIA





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