Italian Memories: Presenting the Pomellato Ode to Milan High Jewellery Collection

Creative Director Vincenzo Castaldo celebrates his 20th anniversary at Pomellato by honouring the history and architecture of Milan, the city that has inspired the Maison since its founding in 1967. Through 33 designs, Ode to Milan plays with shapes and colours to bring famous Milanese buildings, gardens, and colours to life in four high jewellery chapters. Let’s journey through this nostalgic collection that celebrates Italian art and craftsmanship.

For its summer 2023 high jewellery collection, Pomellato has chosen to focus on four facets of the enigmatic state capital of Lombardy through four distinct chapters. The jewels displayed throughout each chapter in Ode to Milan are inspired by a wide range of themes, including Milanese architecture, the influence of Italian artistry and historical buildings on Pomellato designs and, of course, the legendary Duomo Cathedral. Each piece is named after an iconic element related to these motifs and offers an inspiring exploration of Italian design and craftsmanship. In creative director Vicenzo Castaldo’s own words: “I wanted to honour both Pomellato and the city that it is inextricably connected to, both of which are home to me.”

Chapter I - Vertical Landscapes

 The first and largest chapter in the Ode to Milan high jewellery collection is Vertical Landscapes. The pieces here demonstrate how Pomellato thrives on Milan’s energy – the pulse of the city – and its architecture. For example, the Skyline necklace honours the metropolis’ high-rise buildings through stunning form and colour, including over 119 carats of cushion-cut spinels, all of which were cut in-house.

Pomellato Skyline necklace in rose gold, 128 spinels and diamonds from the Ode to Milan High Jewellery collection

Next, the shape and colour of the Giardini Verticali high jewellery suite refer to Milan’s juxtaposition of modern buildings and rural landscapes, specifically taking inspiration from the two buildings of the Bosco Verticale residential complex in the district of Porta Nuova. Designed by the Italian architectural firm Boeri Studio, these buildings are important landmarks for the city as they demonstrate how urban reforestation can help the environment while also adding grace and beauty. In Italian, the words ‘Bosco Verticale’ translate to ‘vertical garden’. The two buildings that make up this complex reflect exactly that, with over 15,000 plants, including 90 different species of trees, shrubs and floral vegetation covering the 27-storey structural façades. Castaldo felt that capturing this unique heritage of biodiversity was integral to honouring the architectural prowess of the city. The Giardini Verticali necklace features three emerald-cut indicolites with a total weight of 36.90 carats and exaggerated chain links of soft yellow gold and pavé diamonds. The block design of the matching earrings offers a more literal take on the shape of these two buildings through neat columns of green tourmalines and tanzanites set in titanium.

To round out this chapter, the Urban Bloom bracelets celebrate the unexpected and man-made hidden lush green gardens that can be found dotted around the city of Milan. The design comes in three colourways, featuring green tsavorites, blue sapphires or pink and violet sapphires, to pay tribute to the bursts of floral colours in these green spaces. Each bracelet features 13 carefully sourced stones that are set atop a circle of 542 white pavé diamonds to enhance their unique colour and vibrancy. The matching collar necklace boasts violet and pink sapphires and almost one thousand diamonds, totalling 12.53 carats.

Chapter II - Contemporary Heritage

 The second chapter in Pomellato’s latest high jewellery collection, Contemporary Heritage, celebrates the city’s eclectic history, its intriguing cache of hidden treasures, and how its historical monuments have directly inspired the designs at Pomellato. The Castello necklace featured in this chapter is a reinterpretation of an ancient fortification in this historic city using precious metals, coloured gemstones and Pomellato design motifs. This piece captures the imposing carved stone façade of one of Milan’s most iconic historical sites – the Castello Sforzesco, a 15th-century fortification built by the Duke of Milan, Francesco Sforza. The Castello necklace combines the imposing shape of the castle with a design from 1972, found in the Pomellato archives, to showcase the brand’s signature gourmette chain link. This unique chain style was invented by the founder of Pomellato, Pino Rabolini, when women’s fashion was moving away from the formal wardrobe towards a more liberated and effortless style of dressing. This chain is equal parts femininity and versatility, with its curved shape strong enough to empower any outfit yet providing a breezy approach to accessorising. The necklace is made of plates of rose gold joined together by chunky gourmette links adorned with 28 carats of baguette, princess, and brilliant-cut diamonds, alongside five reverse-set rubellites totalling over 29 carats.

The Rabolini gourmette chain link design is further celebrated in the matching Dama bracelets. For Castaldo, “chains are the calligraphy of Pomellato” and are, therefore, the main design element throughout the collection. In keeping with the fusion of Italian heritage and the Pomellato contemporary style that we have seen so far in this collection, the Dama bracelets are supersized versions of single gourmette chain links created from rose gold, with a seamless sweep of 218 white diamonds winding around the defined sensually curved shape of each piece. Designed to be worn one on each wrist, these bracelets are thoroughly modern in shape with a nod to the Italian goldsmith heritage of the House. Castaldo adds: “Milan is where we will continue to create and manufacture our jewels. Our artisanal savoir-faire is Milanese, and the emphasis we place on design and ergonomics is Milanese.”

 Model wearing Pomellato Dama bracelet in rose gold and diamonds from the Ode to Milan High Jewellery collection

Chapter III - Creativity on Stage

The Creativity on Stage chapter takes the brand’s history of chain-making and reinvents it using each jewel as a metaphor for the talent and artistry that can be found on the stage of the La Scala theatre. Let’s start with the Sipario body chain necklace – the first body jewel to ever feature in a Pomellato high jewellery collection. “The spirit of daring and creativity of Teatro alla Scala came to life in this opulent jewel made from our famous chains,” Castaldo explains. “More literally, the folds of the stage curtains are evoked in the layers of chains that drape sensually across the body, allowing them to flow as the true protagonists of Pomellato style.”

Chapter IV - Terrazza Duomo

The final chapter of the Ode to Milan high jewellery collection, Terrazza Duomo, features pieces entirely inspired by the main structure of the Duomo Cathedral of Milan, specifically, the key shapes found on the roof of this iconic landmark. This chapter comprises a series of contemporary sculptural earrings, a choker and two bracelets created in white gold, rose gold and white diamonds. Each piece draws upon one of the 135 gothic stone pinnacles that frame the roof of the 14th-century monument but with a modern design twist. Unlike the set-in-stone shapes that these pieces are inspired by, the curved forms of each interlocking sphere allow for creations to move freely and be worn with ease.

This Pomellato offering captures the essence of Italian artistry with apparent ease, even though I am sure many pieces took thousands of hours to design, create and set with precious stones. As Sabina Belli, the CEO of Pomellato, says: “This collection puts women at the centre of the creation process, offering modern pieces of great quality and beauty that are easy to wear.”

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