Bulgari is a name that needs no introduction. Founded in Rome in 1884, its name is synonymous with the very best that the world of haute joaillerie has to offer. And while the jeweller is highly regarded for its respect for tradition and what some might view as an old-school attention to both quality and detail, it is nonetheless innovative in its designs, bringing 19th-century core values triumphantly into the 21st century.
The jeweller’s latest collection, entitled Magnificent Inspirations, is the very embodiment of this philosophy, a dazzling range of bold and striking pieces for which the maison is renowned, taking the inspiration in its title from the grandiose architecture, romance and quintessential joie de vivre of the Eternal City. All pieces have in common a spirit that is unmistakably and unapologetically Roman.
Aside from that distinctive heritage, what the pieces also have in common is a personality built around the characteristics of a particular gemstone – the jeweller is, after all, renowned for its skill in the sourcing, cutting, polishing and setting of stones. For this collection, Bulgari High Jewellery wears its heart on its sleeve by encapsulating the very essence of Rome – the sunset pinks, the golds of the Roman Empire, and the deep blues of the Mediterranean. From this come three facets of expression: mythical Roman heritage, daring Italian extravaganza, and the romance of a Mediterranean Eden.
Expressions of such rarity and refinement are not for everyone, but certain women are the very embodiment of the Roman spirit: think Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren or Gina Lollobrigida. Supermodel Lily Aldridge, Bulgari’s new brand campaign ambassador, also encapsulates all that is magnificent about Roman beauty and that which goes with it: vivacity, glamour, opulence, exuberance and daring, not to mention a dash of irreverence and a sense of fun.
The very picture of a Mediterranean Renaissance beauty, Aldridge has been photographed by renowned fashion photographer Mario Testino for the jeweller’s new campaign, and as such has become its modern muse, exuding confidence and the passion for which the Eternal City is so famous.
Aldridge’s bold and joyous spirit shines through in the shoot, in which she is depicted wearing remarkable pieces from the Magnificent Inspirations collection.
Take, for instance, the photograph in which she wears a simple green dress; she is seen set against marble, a stone featured in many of Testino’s pictures as an apt symbol of the grandeur of Rome. In the shot, she sports the Divas’ Dream Gioco e Vanità High Jewellery necklace in white gold. It features 13 round emerald beads, 16 round sapphire beads, nine buff-top-cut emeralds and 105 buff-top-cut sapphires (9 carats), in addition to no fewer than 14 round, brilliant-cut and pavé diamonds. Complemented by an equally lavish matching bracelet, the colours and textures of the stones appear to emulate the marbled stone behind. In another shot, Aldridge reclines somewhat provocatively against black-veined marble, wearing the Serpenti Seduttori High Jewellery necklace. This piece is set with one oval-shaped, brilliant-cut sapphire of an impressive 13.55 carats, 10 round and pear-shaped rubies, and eight round sapphires; the necklace also features baguette and pavé diamonds totalling just a shade under 25 carats. And in another shot, she sports the serpent on the back of her neck, its sinuous form mimicking the supermodel’s own celebrated curves: Aldridge’s evident sense of play is both charming and amusing.
In another, she is seen wearing the Divas’ Dream High Jewellery earrings in white gold with two corals (totalling 21 carats), two round brilliant-cut diamonds, tapered-cut diamonds and pavé-set diamonds.
Another extraordinary piece is the Divas’ Dream Bellezza High Jewellery necklace. It takes its inspiration from the Terme di Caracalla, Roman baths dating to 217 AD. The baths were beautifully marbled, a place for women to rest and purify both the body and soul. The necklace emulates the fine colours of the marble and is set with six fancy-cut aquamarines, the same number of fancy-cut amethysts, 51 buff-top-cut blue sapphires, and nine round brilliant-cut and pavé-set diamonds totalling 10.82 carats.
Surely a piece fit not only for today’s woman, but for Venus herself.