“All of our artisans are closed,” said Madina Visconti di Modrone, who at the time of our interview had been confined to her apartment due to the nationwide quarantine. Her store, in Milan’s Cinque Vie neighborhood, which doubles as an atelier, had been closed for weeks; production, too, had ground to a halt. Just a few weeks later, Italy, even especially hard-hit Milan, would be well into reopening its economy.

Usually busy with the store, Visconti, 29, used the time as a chance to study the old botanical books she inherited from her grandmother. Visconti, whose eponymous jewelry brand is known for its lush, intricate designs, cast her first jewel when she was 12. Her mother, Osanna, also a jewelry designer, recognized her daughter’s talent early and encouraged her craft—first in wax initials, then moving on to silver. (The designer recently revived that childhood memory with her “Name” collection, which features a series of pendants with initials.) Today, Visconti still drafts her new designs in wax before local goldsmiths convert them to metalwork jewelry.