When you think of Bvlgari, it evokes a picture of impossible glamour and lasting grace. The fine jeweller has a reputation of interpreting timeless precious stones with modern appeal, and the result is designs dripping in sophistication and meticulous craftsmanship. In a signature celebration of life and beauty, comes the label’s latest ‘Barocko’ High Jewellery collection — where the spotlight is on Rome as a muse, the very place Bvlgari was born 130 years ago.
The ‘Barocko’ collection is fashioned after Rome’s Baroque movement that originated in the 17th century and was characterized by flamboyance of design, intricate detailing and overall grandeur.
Now, Bvlgari has dressed this artistic and architectural heritage in their unapologetic daring spirit, bringing its creative approach to the world of natural diamonds. The mood board for this bejeweled revival of the Eternal City features monumental Baroque landmarks — from the Fountain of the Four Rivers sculpted by Lorenzo Bernini and the bronze statue of Archangel Michael to the Horti Farnesiani complex on the Palatino hill. Style icons from the period — women who loved excess details, and showed off their personality through eccentric and opulent style — were also referenced.
The collection came to life under the watchful eye of Bvlgari Jewellery’s creative director Lucia Silvestri, who travelled the globe to unearth rare stones that have been used in ‘Barocko’. She reminisces about how a long summer stroll around the city inspired her. “Rome is certainly one of the most precious sources of inspiration. Baroque style is all around us. It is part of our culture, of our being Roman,” she says.
The collection is designed in three drops — Meraviglia, Luce and Colore —each tied together by a unified vision, but diverse in its own way.
Meaning ‘wonder’ in Italian, the Meraviglia range is the collection’s showstopper, and the ‘Wings of Rome’ necklace is its masterpiece. The design team took a cue from the bronze statue of Archangel Michael atop the Castel Sant’Angelo papal fortress close to the Bvlgari headquarters for this.
The statue’s outstretched wings have been divinely captured in the three-layered platinum necklace using a combination of marquise, pear and round natural diamonds, and completed with a statement 11.65-carat diamond drop in the centre. The diamonds tilt upwards to create a 3D effect of feathers attached to the wings, ready to take flight.
Another notable piece is the ‘Sapphire Lace’ necklace that sits around the neck like a second skin, much like its inspiration: exquisite lace collars worn by Baroque women. The lace’s sensual lightness is effortlessly captured in this complex piece of 22 round Ceylon sapphires complemented by 381 fancy-shape step-cut diamonds, softly interwoven in a geometrical pattern.
And then there’s the ‘Mosaico’ necklace, capturing the magnificence of baroque architecture with its masterful blend of movement, dynamism and shapes. Crafted from round and trapezoidal diamonds intertwined with a constellation of round brilliant-cut emeralds, it is a testimony to Bvlgari’s supreme artistry.
True to its name (‘luce’ means light in Italian), this line exemplifies the brilliance of natural diamonds, reimagined with contemporary flair. Case in point: Bvlgari’s iconic Serpenti design that has been given a modern makeover with the ‘Serpenti Spell’ diamond bracelet-ring. Inspired by the flamboyance of the Fountain of the Four Rivers in Rome’s Piazza Navona, this diamond-drenched piece also incorporates traces of Indian henna designs, making it truly one-of-its-kind. With such attention to detail, it is no surprise that the ‘Serpenti Spell’ took over 500 hours to complete.
A glorious celebration of light, the ‘Raggio di Luce’ diamond ring – is a seductive dance of yellow and white natural diamonds. A rare yellow kite-shaped diamond is its key highlight.
The innovative shield-cut 5-carat stone sourced in Hong Kong illustrates Silvestri’s claim that, “stone cut is the key of this collection, even more so than in the past.”
The joie de vivre that is at the heart of this collection is highlighted with the unapologetic use of colours, just as its name suggests. Exquisite gemstones like tanzanites, rubellites, emeralds and amethysts have been punctuated with round, drop and pave natural diamonds to achieve this. Such as the ‘Lady Aarabesque’ necklace, a contemporary version of Bvlgari’s famous bib design. It has been dressed in a rainbow of gemstones like fancy pink sapphires, Paraiba tourmalines and emeralds, with round and drop diamonds.
Thus, life comes full circle as Bvlgari pays an ode to, while also continuing to seek inspiration from the ancient city. According to Silvestri, “The collection is destined to highlight women’s beauty. I love the idea of a woman wearing a necklace for the joy of feeling the beauty on her body.” The Maison’s savoir-faire aside, it is ‘Barocko’s’ personification of hope and optimism that gives the collection its real shine — a message made even more relevant in these turbulent times. The classically Roman haute joaillerie label proves, yet again, that la dolce vita is steeped in nothing but pure joy and beauty.