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“Why, why?” is the only word I can utter when, at the end of a day that starts at six a.m. and stops only at midnight, I take a look at the “necklaces room”, the floor wholly covered with tiny bits of strings, the beads fallen down and left there not to waste time from processing all the orders, the table plenty of ashtrays with butts, coffee cups and bottles of mineral water offered to customers and friends coming round to help me create and design, the bed completely buried by dozens of kilos of beads to be sorted – “but once didn’t my daughter use to sleep peacefully in this room? – and I wonder:” Why, at the age of 57, have I started all this frenzied business?”

Because I come from Val Camonica and I’ve worked all my life in a big company. Then, at last, I got retired. I could certainly consider myself pretty satisfied: after years of hard work, timetables to comply with, precious time devoted to the company, I finally achieved the so longed-for goal, the “warrior’s rest”, retirement…but then I got bored! I know only how to work, I’m good at it, I’ve done it all my life! So, to move my hands, when my daughter gave me a necklace as a present for my retirement, I grabbed at once the opportunity to mend it. Not only did I do a good job: from that moment I’ve been taken by some sort of crazy excitement!
They call it “acute necklace-sickness”, they think I’m sick but you can’t imagine how beautiful it is to make necklaces…

The first time I entered a stone beads wholesaler I just lost my head, I wanted to dive into the beads just like Uncle Scrooge dives into all his money. I grabbed handfuls of bags and started filling them frantically, and my high spirits didn’t fade even when I was given the total bill.
In the “necklaces room”, as my friends and I like to call it, every day is a magic day, we make and unmake, create, have a chat, laugh and, why not, cry, tell stories, listen, compare, grow up, only like women can when they gather.

Little by little my sickness has been catalogued as highly infective: at my door I’ve started greeting lines of friends begging for a necklace, whether for themselves, for a friend’s birthday, for the mother-in-law to be sweetened. Not to talk about men: one for mom, five for some colleagues in need of gratifications, three to sweeten their partner before telling her she should move to another flat.

Well, people like these necklaces, I don’t know why…
I had to give them a name, some sort of dignity!
We thought about it long and deeply, my family and I, all of us involved, as it’s always been every step of the way, laughing and living together, with a simple-mindedness that’s always given us strength.
And so eventually, here it is…in camuno, the dialect from the Val Camonica mountain region: the Balutì, Giulia’s stones.