It is fairly certain that the first wearable eyeglasses of metal lens were invented in Italy somewhere between 1280 and 1300. Credited to Florentine Salvino d’Armati based on an inscription on his tomb that reads “Here lies Salvino degl’ Armati, son of Armato of Florence, inventor of eyeglasses. May God forgive his sins. A.D. 1317“. The tomb no longer exists so evidence is sketchy but the prototype found its way to the the glass makers of 14th century Venice who began to grind and shape these “eye discs” calling them lenses (lente) because they resembled the shape of a lentil (la lenticchia).
Today Venetian traditions of artistry and craftmanship have influenced eyewear designers all over the world including George Adin . Considered to be an icon in the eyewear industry his trend-setting styles were worn by Paul Newman and many other celebrities over the years. A short drive from Venice, in the valley of Italy’s eastern Alps, Dolomiti Eyewear designs eyeglass frames made with Alpaca (also known as nickel silver), an alloy that is 82% copper, bringing “harmony and balance to the face” and if you believe in the healing qualities associated with this burnished metal, benefits to the body.
It seems that the eyes of Italy have always been on fashionable form and function. The Luxottica Group S.p.A., the world’s largest eyewear company with best known brands that include Ray-Ban and Oakley, is headquartered in Milan.