GAR­DEN OF EDEN

The artistry of the Ital­ian Re­nais­sance comes alive as Bul­gari launches its latest high jew­ellery col­lec­tion at a mag­nif­i­cent villa in Florence, writes Em­i­lie Yabut-ra­zon

Hong Kong Tatler - - Style -

Bul­gari launches its latest high jew­ellery col­lec­tion, Giar­dini Ital­iani, at a mag­nif­i­cent Tus­can villa

Of­ten cited as the birthplace of the Re­nais­sance, Florence is where master artists such as Raphael and San­dro Bot­ti­celli lived and thrived. It is also one of the cities where dur­ing the 15th cen­tury the clas­si­cal ideals of or­der and beauty were ap­plied to the cre­ation of rav­ish­ing gar­dens, of­ten dec­o­rated with foun­tains, stat­ues and grot­toes, in which sym­met­ri­cal and geo­met­ric ar­range­ments of hedges form minia­ture mazes.

So it was fit­ting that Bul­gari chose this pic­turesque, his­toric Tus­can city to celebrate the birth of its Giar­dini Ital­iani col­lec­tion, 100 one-of-a-kind pieces of high jew­ellery inspired by the ge­om­e­try and de­tail of the stately hedges and flower beds of Ital­ian Re­nais­sance gar­den de­sign.

The venue for the launch of the col­lec­tion, the Villa di Ma­iano, was built in the 15th cen­tury and its ex­quis­ite gar­dens are the epit­omy of Re­nais­sance de­sign. The his­toric villa has been owned by noble Ital­ian fam­i­lies, in­clud­ing the Sforzas and the Pazzis, and later an English politi­cian by the name of John

Tem­ple Leader. It has also wel­comed many fa­mous guests, in­clud­ing Queen Vic­to­ria, who is said to have sketched the villa’s pond for her al­bum dur­ing a visit in 1893. The gar­den fea­tures a paved ter­race with stone balustrades, geo­met­ric box­wood hedges and a host of flower beds. The north­ern por­tion of the prop­erty fea­tures a land­scaped park with forests of conifers, wa­ter­ways and olive groves, dot­ted here and there with stat­ues and foun­tains.

Bul­gari CEO Jean-christophe Babin and for­mer French first lady Carla Bruni-sarkozy, who stars in the brand’s latest cam­paign, co-hosted the launch party, wel­com­ing celebri­ties, politi­cians and roy­alty, in­clud­ing Princess Lilly zu Sayn-wittgen­stein-Ber­leburg, Is­abella Fer­rari, Sonam Kapoor and Luke Evans, to the villa. The lilt­ing tones of a harp floated on the air as mod­els strolled the gar­den at dusk, grace­ful show­ing off the riv­et­ting col­lec­tion of high jew­ellery. French pop band The Gypsy Queens pro­vided en­ter­tain­ment through the din­ner, and DJ Graziano Della Neb­bia pro­vided the dance beats at the af­ter-party. The evening con­cluded with a spec­tac­u­lar 20-minute fire­works dis­play.

One of the most iden­ti­fi­able Giar­dini Ital­iani pieces is the Sparkling Hearts neck­lace, in which straight lines and di­ag­o­nals form a bril­liant in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Ital­ian Re­nais­sance-era flower beds. Fancy-cut di­a­monds add a ro­man­tic touch to the piece. It can be worn as a neck­lace, with or with­out the tas­sels, or as a brooch.

The el­e­gant Blue Iri­des­cence neck­lace, inspired by the Ro­man festoons so pop­u­lar among Re­nais­sance artists in­clud­ing Rafael, presents an ex­tra­or­di­nary set of sap­phires, ac­quired by Bul­gari from var­i­ous parts of the world, com­bined

with pink spinels and set in yel­low gold.

Foun­tains take pride of place in Wa­ter Sym­phony, a neck­lace that fea­tures a large cen­tral sap­phire bor­dered by flow­ing rivulets of pear- and bril­liant-cut di­a­monds and rib­bons of baguettes. Love’s Par­adise is a neck­lace that al­ludes to the gar­den as a place of de­light, with a 125.35-carat sap­phire at the heart of the pen­dant.

The theme con­tin­ues in a se­lec­tion of jew­ellery watches called Ge­om­e­try of Time, in which the bracelets and case shapes form di­ag­o­nal pat­terns like hedges. Spring En­counter, a flo­ral neck­lace inspired by the Bot­ti­celli paint­ing Al­le­gory of Spring, ref­er­ences Bul­gari’s past, re­sem­bling a piece from 1969 in yel­low gold with pearls, coral and di­a­monds. Six­teen bril­liant di­a­monds at the cen­tre of each flower vi­brate like pis­tils, and the petals are stud­ded with pavé di­a­monds. “Bul­gari needs to be a leader in fine jew­ellery, a world sig­na­ture, show­ing the best gems in the world—the purest, the bright­est,” said Babin dur­ing the event. “This col­lec­tion took many years to put to­gether… it is a dis­play of the brand’s cre­ativ­ity, bold­ness, au­dac­ity and un­ex­pected de­sign.”

BUL­GARI’S GIAR­DINI ITAL­IANI COL­LEC­TION TAKES EL­E­MENTS FROM THE STYLE OF GAR­DENS THAT EMERGED IN THE LATE 15TH CEN­TURY AT VIL­LAS THROUGH­OUT ROME AND FLORENCE

SHIM­MER­ING SKIES Bul­gari or­gan­ised a lav­ish fire­works dis­play in the gar­dens of the Villa di Ma­iano

STAR-STUD­DED From left: Bul­gari CEO Jean-christophe Babin with ac­tress Is­abella Fer­rari and brand am­bas­sador Luke Evans; Princess Lilly zu Sayn-wittgen­steinBer­leburg; Carla BruniSarkozy wears a neck­lace from the new col­lec­tion

In­dian ac­tress Sonam Kapoor wore a high jew­ellery neck­lace from Bul­gari’s Diva range

BRIL­LIANT MAZE The Sparkling Heart neck­lace fea­tures geo­met­ric pat­terns of flower beds

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