Fred Magnanimi founded Luca and Danni after his 33 year-old brother Danny lost his battle with cancer in 2013. Now, the company’s relation to the disease has come full-circle, as this year an exclusive “Tree of Life” bracelet designed by the Cranston jewelers will be featured in the Dana-Farber Institute’s Holiday Cards & Gifts package to benefit cancer patients.
The Magnanimi jewelry journey began in Cranston in the 1950s, Magnanimi said, when his father founded a jewelry-manufacturing factory. As Fred and Danny grew older, Fred moved out of state to become an investment banker, but Danny was passionate about the jewelry business and was working to take over his father’s company.
Then, Danny’s cancer diagnosis happened, and Fred returned to Rhode Island during his long battle.
“Going through the Dana-Farber stuff [the hospital Danny used], I learned how important this place was to him,” Magnanimi said. “My brother really wanted to revitalize it. You can’t really impact a disease like that so you funnel a lot of energy into something else.”
When Danny passed away in 2013, Fred decided that it was his duty to carry out his late brother’s dream and build up a jewelry company in his name. He left his job as an investment banker and relocated his family of four to Cranston.
Thus, Luca and Danni are named for Fred’s two children.
Since being founded, the company has grown to 50 employees and creates a variety of unique bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and rings sold online and in stores.
Their latest design is the “Tree of Life” bracelet.
Magnanimi connected with the Dana-Farber Institute, which is a world-renowned hospital known for its cancer research and treatment, through a Luca and Danni employee who used to work there. Dana-Farber was happy they did, using the bracelet as the feature gift in their holiday collection this year.
“It was cool for Dana-Farber to see how someone could take a negative experience and turn it into something positive to preach to people,” Magnanimi said. “The bracelet this year is doing better than last year’s because we were able to get the message out around the piece a little better.”
The design concept was a collaborative effort, he said, with himself, his employees, and members of the institute. The tree of life idea was something they’d kept bringing up. They saw this year’s holiday collection at Dana-Farber as the perfect way to showcase it. The bracelet is in a heart shape, with branches of a tree in it, to put Luca and Danni’s own spin on the cancer journey, Magnanimi said.
The bracelet, being exclusively made for Dana-Farber, isn’t sold in Luca and Danni stores or on their website. It is sold through Dana-Farber’s website as well as a partnership the institute has with stores around New England, including Stop & Shops and The Paper Store locations in Massachusetts. They’re also sold at the Dana-Farber’s Yawkey Center in Boston.
Dana-Farber has being doing this holiday fundraiser since 2003 and have raised almost $8 million dollars for cancer research and treatment through the holiday cards and gifts alone.
“Dana-Farber Holiday Cards & Gifts is a wonderful way for people to do their holiday shopping and give back to a worthy cause,” Chairman of the Jimmy Fund Larry Lucchino said in a release. “All of the cards and gifts in Dana-Farber’s holiday collection raise critical funds to support patient care and ground-breaking cancer research at Dana-Farber.”
For Magnanimi, after losing his brother to cancer in 2013 and starting this jewelry company because of him, the process of making this “Tree of Life” bracelet was retrospective but also very fun, and it is all done, of course, for a good cause.