The Mediterranean nation of Italy is admired across the world as a fount of romance and glamour, as well as for the richness of its cultural and artistic heritage, for the exuberance, sensuality and passion of its people, and for its bold and adventurous sense of style. And if the many wonders that make Italy unique could be distilled, its countless points of artistic inspiration condensed into a single word, that word would be “Bulgari”, the revered name of the quintessentially Italian high jewellery maison, which is synonymous the world over with luxury, vitality and tasteful extravagance.
From April 3 to 6, connoisseurs of jewellery in Hong Kong were invited to view Bulgari’s exquisite Magnificent Inspirations collection of bespoke haute joaillerie masterpieces at the jeweller’s Landmark Chater and Pacific Place boutiques. Fastidiously sculpted from only the most precious metals, sparkling diamonds, an abundance of iridescent gemstones, and with unparalleled artistry, the collection reveals the extraordinary Italian personality through three distinct themes: an idealised Mediterranean Eden, legendary Roman Heritage and an audacious Italian Extravaganza.
Since its founding in 1884, Bulgari has been instinctively inspired by the beauty of nature, and the collection’s imaginative Mediterranean Eden designs embrace the natural world, celebrating everything from the poignant delicacy and grace of flowers and the man-meets-nature enchantment of ornate Italian gardens to the hypnotic, sinuous and mysterious charms of the serpent.
Highlights among the evocative Mediterranean Eden pieces include the alluring Serpenti Seduttori high jewellery necklace, fashioned in white gold with an oval-shape, brilliant-cut sapphire of 13.55 carats, 10 round and pear-shaped rubies totalling 8.96 carats, eight round-shaped sapphires (14.97 carats), and 24.59 carats of baguette and pavé diamonds. Exquisite Fiore Ingenuo creations, meanwhile, meld brazen colour with floral-inspired curves to echo the immortal yet fruitful dialogue between art and the environment. The results are at once sentimental and dynamic, feminine and assured.
Bulgari’s magnificent Italian flagship store nestles on Rome’s fashionable and exclusive Via Condotti. Understandably, the venerable high jewellery house has long drawn inspiration from the Eternal City’s self-possessed swagger, architectural majesty and unquenchable flame for la dolce vita. Historically an influential axis point of European culture, philosophy and innovation, the Italian capital is heart and soul of Bulgari’s Roman Heritage designs, those creations informed by the legendary roads that once led to the ancient city, and coloured like the sun setting over the Colosseum, the Pantheon and Vatican.
Roman Heritage’s much-loved and modular Parentesi pieces, in fact, geometrically recall Rome’s ancient infrastructure, their interlocking components echoing the travertine slabs that paved such bustling thoroughfares of old – all the while remaining supple and eminently wearable. The unmistakable Parentesi motif has been a Bulgari staple since the 1970s, and such statement necklaces and bracelets continue to be day-to-night must-haves for the sophisticated modern woman.
An Italian Extravaganza of truly outstanding jewellery pieces completes Bulgari’s Magnificent Inspirations collection. This delightful and thrilling set pulls out all the creative stops in a joyous revelry of self-expression, intense colour, unrivalled glamour and unashamed extravagance, together saluting a wonder-filled country that is truly in love with life.
The Italian Extravaganza’s Divas’ Dream designs recall the heady decades when Hollywood wholeheartedly embraced enchanting Rome; when larger-than-life, silver-screen goddesses such as Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida fell head over heels for Bulgari’s most decadent baubles.
Fascinatingly, the Divas’ Dream Bellezza pieces were born of the pampering rituals of ancient Rome, where the Terme di Caracalla, built in 217 AD, was once the city’s second-largest baths. Intricately tiled and architecturally magnificent, the Terme di Caracalla was where Roman citizens gathered to purify mind and soul – effectively one of the first spas in all of human history. The recurring motif employed in the Divas’ Dream Bellezza high jewellery pieces captures the colours of Caracalla marble and the graceful curves of its mosaics.
Travelling forward in time, but remaining in an era long before the Mediterranean peninsula was united, Italy was not a country but an ensemble of principati, where aristocratic families held sway and relished only the finest things in life, including the most desired jewellery pieces. Inspired by the romantic notion of jewels fit only for a princess, Italian Extravaganza’s Gemme Principesche deigns sparkle with royal preciousness, privileged femininity and unbridled power.
With seven emeralds sourced from across the globe, the Gemme Principesche necklace took three years to create, the stones married with diamonds in a breathtaking design that conveys the ultimate in prestige. The Gemme Principesche ring in platinum, meanwhile, features a 3.08-carat emerald and 42 buff-top rubies of 1.57 carats, as well as 0.45 carats of pavé diamonds.
And the seemingly relentless Italian Extravaganza does not stop there, its mesmerising Colour Treasures pieces continuing Bulgari’s trail-blazing adventures in dazzling palettes of vivid gems – including brilliant amethysts, emeralds, rubellites, pearls and diamonds – and exploring audacious juxtapositions of stones to reflect the Italian passion for life.
Like Bulgari, the word “Italy” conjures up magical images, spurring the imagination, encouraging a love for the aesthetic and embracing life to the full. And ultimately, Bulgari’s flair for extravagance, its embrace of the audacious and its penchant for colour are all symptoms of a fervent passion for living like a true Italian.