“The first consideration we had was the snake,” said Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani, Bulgari’s executive director of product creation. Robb Report from the new high jewelry collection on the theme of the Garden of Eden. “But at some point you say, ‘Another snake?'”
So how did he reinvent, once again, the brand’s instantly recognizable Serpenti, which has been his recurring theme for over 80 years? The big idea, he says, was to hide the snake under lush flowers and petals in a light-hearted play on Eden’s most sinister creature. The undeniable highlight is the high jewelry Giardino Dell’Eden Tourbillon watch, a piece that required 4,400 hours of work. The ultimate display of Italian opulence, it features a cuff with a removable brooch evoking a lush Mediterranean garden of flowers, two quivering butterflies and rich foliage concealing the Serpenti-shaped watch case, decorated with emeralds and diamonds in below. In total, there are 6,500 stones totaling 223 carats ranging from Paraiba cabochon, emerald and garnets to pink tourmalines, opals, rubies, multicolored sapphires and diamonds. Buonamassa Stigliani describes it as “the most difficult piece we have ever done”. It required the dedicated work of five craftsmen and took about two years to complete. “We’re very happy it’s over,” he laughs. “It was really, really hard. Just laying the stones, finding the right stones, the gradient… We changed the gradient and the flower colors twice.
The piece was shown to press and patrons at a presentation in Paris over the weekend and just as Buonamassa Stigliani had finished showing Robb Report the part, it had already been purchased by a customer. Parting with such a masterpiece is not easy after so many hours of painstaking work, but Buonamassa Stigliani asserts that had it not been sold, its historical significance as a representative piece of the peaks to which Bulgari’s craftsmanship has risen has already reserved a place for it. at the Bulgari Museum. Not to mention that the company intends to present it for the Grand Prix de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva (aka the Oscars of watchmaking). The parting was a sweet heartbreak, but Buonamassa Stigliani says the team is ‘happy because we know this client very well, and we know she’s the right woman in terms of elegance and how to wear it’ .
Although this piece is unique, Buonamassa Stigliani says others will likely be made. “Of course we will have other requests and we will make them,” he said. “Customers have already asked. We will make the same watch but with completely different colors and completely different in the combination of flowers and petals. But to have another piece with this kind of amazing work, a customer would have to wait 12-14 months, starting today. Notably, the piece can also be changed to different wrist sizes thanks to the frame architecture under the jewels which can be adjusted. However, the volume of the garden design will remain the same.
This was not the only highlight of the collection, which consists of more than 140 unique pieces, of which more than 30 were dedicated to emeralds. The undeniable stunner among this lot is the Emerald Glory choker, which can also be worn as a necklace or a tiara, adorned with 11 pear-shaped Colombian emeralds surrounded by over 220 carats of diamonds that took over 3 000 hours of manual work.
In a fashion show held at the Italian Embassy in Paris, French supermodel, actress and former first lady Carla Bruni did justice to a necklace anchored by a 35.53-carat oval-shaped Colombian emerald surrounded smaller emeralds and diamonds in the shape of tiny Eiffel Towers, aptly dubbed the Tribute to Paris. American actress Julianne Moore also wore the necklace recently on the Cannes Film Festival red carpet.
Meanwhile, other gemstones carried significant weight. Take, for example, a 61.30 carat Sri Lankan sapphire that served as the centerpiece on the Ocean Treasure Serpenti where it falls from two interlocking platinum and diamond serpents that merge into one or a spinel. 25.70 carat rose from Tajikistan that is enveloped by a snake in rose gold and diamonds in the Serpenti Spinel Embrace necklace.
Or how about a 107.15 carat Sri Lankan sapphire? The stone is at the center of the platinum Mediterranean Reverie necklace surrounded by baguette-cut sapphires and pear-cut, brilliant-cut and pavé-set diamonds. Bulgari seems to have amassed a collection of serious stones to wow its customers in what looks like a confident view of the jewelry market in 2022.
“The last two years of the pandemic have given us great inspiration for creativity,” said Mauro di Roberto, jewelry director at Bulgari. Robb Report. “It’s amazing how creativity has become even more fluid. I guess it’s because we’re tired of living a confined life. I think we are looking for a better way to live.
The Bulgari way of life is certainly reserved for a select few, but those who can get their hands on a piece of this “Garden of Eden” paradise probably won’t be able to resist the temptation.