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Best use of coloured gemstones 2020: Bvlgari brings back a nostalgic era of opulence with its high jewellery collection, Barocko

Bvlgari Barocko

In this year’s Best of the Best 2020 awards, we recognise the brands that have pushed boundaries in design and innovation, and those that have made significant contributions to alleviate the pandemic. This year’s Best Use of Coloured Gemstones award goes to Bvlgari

Bvlgari’s love affair with coloured gemstones can be traced back to the ’50s, when it eschewed the rigid French codes of jewellery design and coloured an entirely new design language. This was the period when sapphires, emeralds and rubies were strictly paired with diamonds – the three Bvlgari brothers helming the house decided to subvert those rules and instead mixed and matched reds with greens, blues with purples, to astounding effect. This aesthetic ushered in the dolce vita era, codified by a relaxed, happy and vibrant aesthetic that would come to define Bvlgari’s style for the ensuing decades.

The woman in charge of Bvlgari’s creative endeavours is Lucia Silvestri. She was trained under the three brothers and has an uncanny knack for sourcing extraordinary stones, as well as an eye for mixing and matching seemingly contrasting colours and cuts. She once again creates magic with Bvlgari’s newest high jewellery collection, called Barocko. It might be odd to talk about opulence in today’s climate, but trust Bvlgari to do so in a tasteful and refined manner. The jeweller has distilled the essence of the flamboyant baroque era into this collection and has drawn its inspiration from the artists and architects of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Selected Roman landmarks from the baroque era influenced the creation of the jewels. The Wings of Rome necklace, for instance, derives its design cues from the archangel Michael bronze statue that overlooks the city from its perch atop the Castel Sant’Angelo fortress. Marquise-cut diamonds frame a pear-shaped drop diamond, while a plethora of brilliant stones emulate the effect of the angel’s wings.

The baroque genre is identified by its rich play of colours and dramatic textures. To emulate this effect, the high jewellery team has picked a vibrant colour palette of rare, exquisite and sizeable stones, including rubies, sapphires, emeralds, rubellites, tanzanites and tourmalines. It’s an exercise in contrasts as evinced in the Cabochon Exuberance necklace. Here, a vivid array of coloured gemstones comes together in a festive explosion of light and positivity. You can’t help but smile at the colour combination featuring tanzanite, aquamarine, rubellite and aquamarine cabochons set in pink gold and linked by emerald beads. It’s big, bold and creative – a nod to the baroque influence of the collection and a perfect representation of Bvlgari’s aesthetic.

While we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to the important stones in the collection, we have a soft spot for the Rosso Caravaggio necklace, which literally translates to red Caravaggio. It pays homage to the ‘father of modern painting’ with its intriguing play of lights and shadows. This was arguably the most complex piece in the collection and took the jeweller 1,500 hours of craftsmanship. The craftsmen emulated Caravaggio’s expertise with light and shadow on this piece, creating a trompe-l’œil effect where the stones appear to be floating within the intricate curves. The highlight is undoubtedly the 10-carat ruby from Mozambique that anchors the suite.

Our full list of Best of the Best 2020 winners here

Bvlgari