Since 1919, Buccellati has been offering its customers not only jewellery and watches but also a wide range of cutlery, figurines, dinnerware, cigarette cases, keyrings, souvenirs and, of course, evening bags. In developing them, Mario Buccellati, who founded the Italian jewellery house in 1919, wanted to highlight the close ties between Buccellati and La Scala opera house in Milan, which was located next to the first Buccellati store. Of all the designs, my favourites are the two clutches by Gianmaria Buccellati created in 1980 and 2008, which perfectly reflect the brand’s signature materials and techniques. The first is crafted from rigato-engraved silver and embellished with gold-engraved flowers and leaves, with the clasp encrusted with 44 emeralds (0.97 carats), 17 rubies (0.69 carats) and 28 diamonds (0.63 carats). The second, in engraved silver, features delicate lace edging and a rose and yellow gold clasp set with a 3.77 carat turquoise. Both real masterpieces made by true Italian masters.
Another Italian brand, Bvlgari, regularly delights us with beautifully detailed evening bag designs, some of which are so unique that they exist only in a single edition. For example, the Serpenti, which is crafted from crocodile skin and foil-covered in pure 24 carat gold, is the most exquisite bag Bvlgari has ever created, reinforcing the link between the worlds of high jewellery and accessories. The iconic snakehead clasp is set with pavé diamonds, with tourmalines for eyes. Inside the purse there is a gold plaque that reads “Bulgari Limited Edition 1/1”, indicating that this is a completely unique creation. For lovers of minaudières, Bvlgari offers the Melone range in silver or gold with the iconic Tubogas chain, decorated with lizard skin and black enamel.
This year, the House of Dior exhibited its exquisite Gem Clutch in satin with precious stones, a collaboration between creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri and Victoire de Castellane, who is creative director of Dior’s fine jewellery division. Inspired by the Rose Dior Bagatelle collection, the Gem Clutch is an exquisite reminder of Christian Dior’s boundless love for flowers and the Bagatelle Park in Paris, in which 1,200 varieties of plants grow. Entirely made by hand, a rose, Monsieur Dior’s favourite bloom, graces the clasp of the handbag. With a wide range of colours to choose between, you can pick the bag that best matches your outfit, from emerald green to purple, pale pink to fuchsia, grey to red.
Tabbah has been on the jewellery scene for over 150 years. Their assortment of jewellery ranges from family heirlooms to more contemporary lines – a rare combination that is a testament to Tabbah’s far-reaching outlook. Written on the Maison’s Instagram, beneath one of the jewels, is a quote from Audrey Hepburn: “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says I’m possible!” These are words I would attribute to the impeccable craftsmanship of Tabbah, which is embodied in its clutch bags crafted from 18 carat gold, beautifully engraved and set with coloured gemstones and diamonds. While Tabbah doesn’t specialise in bejewelled accessories, it does welcome the freedom to choose the jewellery you like, which includes spectacular clutches such as these.
Anglo-American designer Darby Scott is widely known for her creations in exotic leathers and luxurious fabrics set with semi-precious stones, natural seashells, horn, bone and wood. Here, you will find not just one or two pieces but entire collections. But that’s not all: from the collection entitled The Vault, Darby also offers its customers sophisticated everyday handbags that are both functional and luxurious evening accessories. One of my favourites is the one-of-a-kind evening edition adorned with 130 faceted stones: amethysts, citrines, ametrine and topaz alongside hundreds of diamonds. And particularly of note, 10% from the sale of each purchase from The Vault will be donated to a charitable foundation of the buyer’s choosing.
As you can see, each handbag has its own rich backstory, but their creators are very similar in two respects: their love for jewellery art and their open-mindedness to experiment with precious stones beyond the realms of jewellery.