Bulgari: the joy of Festa, the brand’s new high jewellery art collection

What is Italy? Ask Italians that question and you will get a range of completely different answers: the Romans will tell you about the Coliseum and the Spanish Steps; the Venetians would talk about the Grand Canal and their numerous bridges; Pisa’s inhabitants – their leaning tower of course; those from Milan – the famous La Scala opera house and Piazza del Duomo… And, after a mysterious pause, each of them would undoubtedly mention their characteristic way of life, the sweet and elusive charm of “la dolce vita”, the spread of which is an affaire d’honneur for every Italian!

With its birthplace in Rome,  Bulgari, has its own recipe for “la dolce vita”. The jewellery maison has released a brand new and extensive collection named Festa made up of breath-taking creations dedicated to the very art of celebrating life. More than 100 jewels and watches which champion that emotion of pure Italian happiness have been specially designed for it. The collection was first presented at the end of June 2017 in Venice where two world-famous events were being held: the legendary Carnival of Venice and the Historical Regatta.

The sun, the hot climate and the gentle waves of the Mediterranean could not make for a more blissful atmosphere of joy, happiness and celebration. In no other country will you meet people who are as cheerful, openly revelling on the streets of their towns and cities; indeed, celebration is in and of itself the essence of Italians’ modus operandi. Those that live in the towns of this southern European state exude a sense of style, an exuberant euphoria and a striking originality that are all intrinsic to their hometowns. Bulgari’s creative director of jewellery department, Lucia Silvestri, has derived inspiration from this attitude to life, truly and universally reproducing throughout the collection.

For example, there are two pieces in the new collection, a Palio necklace and bracelet, which are, of course, dedicated to Siena’s ancient and renowned Palio races. 17 municipal “contradi”, or regions, participate in the Palio, each with its own traditional colours and flags. It is this palette of colours which gave the Palio necklace its myriad of gemstones: diamonds, rubies, sapphires, malachite, tiger’s eye, lapis lazuli, coral, turquoise and many others. Bulgari’s craftsmen worked for many months, closely collaborating with Siena’s authorities to make sure that the colours of all 17 contradi were perfectly reproduced!

In many towns in the south of Italy, there are annual festivals for “tarantella” folk dancing, which was once considered an antidote for tarantula bites. Those that had been bitten had to dance until they collapsed from exhaustion. Time past, and this unusual treatment was turned into one of the most popular dances in southern Italy which is usually performed at weddings and other family occasions. In honour of this folk dance, a necklace in the shape of a spider’s web has been designed from more than 40 carats of diamonds, two sautoirs, a bracelet and a pair of earrings.

Does happiness always require a special occasion? Memories of birthdays, treats, cake and presents have been conjured by Lucia Silvestri in her truly “tasty” jewels. Amongst them are rings shaped like cakes made of pistachio, as well as lemon, raspberry, chocolate and cream pies. Pedants and brooches made of diamonds and coloured gemstones cut into ice cream or lollipop shapes have formed other bejewelled deserts.

I particularly love how the maison’s creative director has managed to disguise the multi-coloured motifs of an ice cream made of mother-of-pearl, turquoise, chrysoprase and sugilite in a collar necklace with almost 30 carats of diamonds. She also transformed party balloons into a necklace and gold earrings made with diamonds and other precious stones. In fact, what is a celebration without presents? Lucia Silvestri hasn’t forgotten about these either, including several pieces shaped to look like precious gift-wrapped boxes.

In Rome itself, where, in 1884, Sotirio Bulgari founded his jewellery maison, resplendent parties and festivals have now been celebrated for more than two thousand years. As part of the new collection, Italy’s capital city has the Monete pendant watch dedicated to it, as well as the Monete Octo Finissimo Tourbillon secret watch and the magnificent Cuore di Roma (“Heart of Rome”) necklace with its 12.10 carat ruby. This genuine miracle of nature, originating from Mozambique, possesses a unique red colour. Indeed, red is not only the colour of passion and mirth, but also the colour of Rome’s coat of arms!

Not one high jewellery collection by Bulgari is complete without some important gemstones. So, this new collection includes a diamond necklace adorned with a round cut emerald from Columbia weighing in at more than 53.57 carats. Another has an emerald from the same region which is shaped like a sugar loaf weighing 59.11 carats. A third has a round cabochon weighing a little over 26 carats. The Festa collection also has a few noteworthy sapphires, such as, for example, a Burmese specimen weighing 180.98 carats that sits on a chain with large links covered in diamonds, as well as a dark blue cushion-shaped 36.45 carat corundum.

The Festa collection clearly demonstrates Bulgari’s creative approach to colour and form, which are, likely never before, vividly manifested in the maison’s 2017 collections.

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