Mazzucchelli Zyl Acetate

Mazzucchelli (mat-su-keli) is produced in Italy, and is considered the highest grade of acetate in the world, on a par with Japanese Zyl Acetate . The company Mazzucchelli 1849 has been making acetate for 160 years and is used by the top independent brands in eyewear such as Claire Goldsmith, Cutler & Gross and Garrett Leight, to name a few.

Zyl acetate is tough, with a deep gloss and high transparency. It possesses a feel that is often described as more natural than other plastics due to it consisting of 80% cotton fibre and 20% polymers, which explains its consistent popularity as a material for items that are handled frequently such as spectacle frames and tool handles. Zyl acetate can also achieve colour effects that are beyond injection moulding - as the frames are hand cut from slabs of zyl, each frame that is patterned (like tortoiseshell or leopard) has a unique pattern just as with tiles of marble. Acetate is desirable for its feel, colour, luster, strength and ability to be shape, and is made entirely from renewable resources.

The zyl acetate process goes something like this:

Purified cellulose from cotton fibre is mixed with powder and solvents and passed through filters until forming a fine sheet of transparent paste. Organic colour pigments are mixed with acetone and applied directly onto the acetate and worked into the surface. An artisan then passes the coloured acetate through a roller several times, finely spreading the colour evenly throughout. For a patterned sheet, this same process is repeated using a different colour for each sheet, which are then layered together and passed back through the rollers. The compressed layers of acetate are then mixed together in a random pattern and cut into small pieces. These pieces are then pressed together to form a block of random patterning ready to be trimmed into frames.

All of our frames at Michael Holmes Premium Eyewear are made using either Japanese or Mazzucchelli zyl acetate. Unless they are titanium of course, but we'll save that story for another day.