“I love the Italians. I think they're just so fun,” says Eva Longoria. In town to grace the opening of Damiani's second boutique in May at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, she is also the face of the Italian jeweller's latest advertising campaign.
The newest addition to the Damiani family, the 39-year-old follows on the heels of Sharon Stone and Sophia Loren as a brand spokesperson. “I receive many phone calls from jewellery brands to endorse them,” she says. “But Damiani won my heart because they are very philanthropic and give back to society in charitable ways.”
For instance, the company organised The Clean Water project in 2010 (a joint collaboration with Sharon Stone), which saw the building of wells in Uganda and South Africa to provide clean water for over 10,000 people. More recently in 2012, they promoted fundraising activities in collaboration with non-profit organisation Vola nel Cuore throughout Italy to support the victims of the Emilia-Romagna earthquake.
Longoria herself is a long-time activist and founder of The Eva Longoria Foundation, dedicated to helping Latin American women build better futures for themselves through education and entrepreneurship. Among other projects, she is also the co-founder of Eva's Heroes, which enriches the lives of adolescents with developmental disabilities. For her work, she was named Philanthropist of the Year by The Hollywood Reporter in 2009.
“The Damiani woman is not just confident and elegant but also has a heart for people. It's very important for me to align myself with companies that are socially responsible,” she says. Describing her foundation as “my life's work”, the Desperate Housewives star was in Dubai last year to organise fundraisers and partnerships for the foundation. It has also brought her to Mexico and Spain to address education and hunger needs, and to Central America to help farmers reinvest in agriculture.
Her outgoing personality and magnanimous heart, coupled with her chic demeanour, makes her an ideal match for Damiani, known for its bold designs and artisanal, handmade jewellery pieces.
Founded in 1924 in Valenza, the heart of fine jewellery-making in northern Italy, the brand — much like Longoria — remains fiercely independent. Since the reopening of its boutique in Rome in November 2013, the Maison has marked its 90th birthday with celebrations around the world, (including the opening of this Singapore outpost at MBS), and the unveiling of a limited edition collection. Featuring luscious pearls and brilliant gemstones, the set of 10 comprises necklaces, rings, earrings and bracelets.
Consisting of just nine numbered pieces each, the designs are inspired by Damiani's history from the Roaring Twenties to date.
Highlights from the collection include the resplendent Charleston diamond pavé necklace in a delicate feather shape with art nouveau lines (inspired by 1920s flapper girls); the full-bodied Legend bracelet which salutes the austere military style of the 1940s; and the quirky Bloom floral motif (inspired by the iconic 1970s Flower Children movement) in dazzling white diamonds, pink sapphires, amethysts, citrines and blue topazes.
The edgy Moonshine ring of the 1990s is another eye-catching stunner that represents the period when Damiani started to expand internationally. Festooned with eight gleaming white, grey and pink pearls set on a soft diamond pavé, the pearls resemble rockets ready to set off on new conquests.
It is hard for Longoria to pick her favourite. The jewellery aficionado is inextricably drawn to diamonds, referring to them as her “best friends”. She also likes them “against any type of setting such as rose gold and platinum,” says the actress-producer, who is set to appear in four upcoming feature films and is also producing her third documentary to date, El Voto Hispano, which explores the power of the Latino vote in the US.
But where does she get all the energy for her projects? “I'm a very efficient person and like to fill my days up. People waste more time than they think in a day. Also, I sleep a lot on planes.”
The self-professed exercise junkie adds that she enjoys running and managed to squeeze in a 6am run along Marina Bay Sands — the morning of our interview — despite having arrived on a red-eye flight just hours before. Very robust indeed – just like a diamond.