Juan Jose Draghi silversmith: Born in San Antonio de Areco, from a family of farmers in the province of Buenos Aires. Inspired by a strong vocational impulse, and generating a great technical command of the trade learned solely through experience, intuition, and a creative genius that earned him prestige as the re-discoverer of traditional Argentina silverwork.
His Draghi silversmith concerns and unique ability to handle the chisel led him to be in 1971, one of the 38 craftsmen present in the first week of Crafts Exposition in San Antonio de Areco.
Midway through the 20th century, silverwork in Argentina was losing its essence, as well as one of its most important qualities: its identity.
Industrialization stripped the works of their unique character, just as it did to so many other trades, substituting individual craft with the generic printing techniques of mass production.
Ricardo Güiraldes from San Antonio de Areco took the journey of preserving the gaucho spirit of the epoch intact-embodied in his immortal Don Segundo Sombra acclaimed book: the most important novel about gauchos.
His work demands commitment to the preservation of the estate of noble traditions passed from generation to generation.
Therefore it’s not by chance that Juan José Draghi silversmith, devoted advocate of these values, always speak out loud: “I became a silversmith because I was born in Areco.” In San Antonio de Areco he found the source of inspiration to develop his work and start with tenacity upon a self-taught path.
He undertook a profound study on national fashions and customs, and inspired himself by trying to re-create the classic pieces on exhibition in the Ricardo Güiraldes Museum of the Gaucho, and wear by real gauchos in the Estancias.
The handicrafts of Juan Jose Draghi silversmith are today spread out in a tour throughout the world. Many of them are very far away from Areco and Estancias, where they were conceived.
Juan José Draghi is faithful interpreter of the aesthetic personality characterized by the gaucho and its current expression, his contemporary equivalent.
Juan Jose Draghi silversmith was devoted to his principles, as well. Another loyalty that stand out.
This silversmith that is important in San Antonio de Areco and Argentina, has received many awards and satisfactions of a different order. But we imagine that none can be so overtaken experienced as when he was handed the gifts to be given to the Kings of Spain, Don Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia. That “facón” sheathed silver and gold, and that “rastra”, must be the most admirable few garments created by Draghi silversmith
Presidents of USA: Reagan and Bush; the Prince of Saudi Arabia, Turki and Saud Faisal Al Saud; Chancellor Hellmut Kohl of Germany, among other world figures, have presents in silver with the Draghi´s punch.
The flag bearer of the Argentina Army 1st Battalion Logistics and their escorts, will take forever pieces of work of this great Argentina silversmith.
Currently his sons are still nurturing this art: Juan Patricio and Mariano, whose pieces have been selected to represent Argentina craftworks in the United States and France for World Cup 1994.
Partially extracted from the website of Draghi Plateros Orfebres, and Comodoro Juan José Güiraldes letter from May 9th, 1994.
You have the opportunity of visiting this great Criollo silversmith workshop in San Antonio de Areco and many other artisans in this Full Day Tour to the Gaucho town Areco
Mas acerca de las tradiciones del gaucho en Español: Tradiciones en Tour de Estancia Buenos Aires y San Antonio de Areco
Bus tickets and Tours to San Antonio de Areco and Estancias near Buenos Aires