Pomellato’s Nudo, known for its bold take on the diamond solitaire, celebrates its 20th anniversary with new colours, designs and an innovative finish. We trace the success of the Milanese jeweller’s most iconic collection that has remained largely unchanged since its launch.
Born into a family of goldsmiths, the late Pino Rabolini established Pomellato in 1967 – an exciting period marked by a new, liberated way of life and the start of the feminist movement. It was at the Milanese institution, Bar Jamaica – a popular café frequented by Rabolini and a largely artistic crowd then – that the brainchild of introducing prêt-à-porter to the traditional world of jewellery was conceived.
Named after a dappled horse because of the entrepreneur’s great love for the elegant beast, Pomellato quickly gained popularity for its rebellious, unconventional yet sensual designs, which embodied the empowered, free-spirited women that Rabolini saw around him.
“This new woman wanted to buy her own jewellery, colourful jewellery that matched her beatific sense of adventure. This new young woman believed that she owned and controlled herself,” he elaborated in Pomellato: Since 1967, a 2018 book by Sheila Weller and Giusi Ferre to commemorate the brand’s 50th anniversary.
By transforming gold into contemporary jewels to be worn at any time or occasion, the visionary revolutionised women’s fashion choices, ultimately shaping Pomellato’s powerful, fashion-forward identity today. More than five decades on, the Italian house is synonymous with creative, unique designs, colours, as well as innovative stone cutting and setting techniques that have defined its unmistakable style.
The enduring icon
One collection that best personifies the house’s masterful craftsmanship, goldsmithing savoir faire and audacious Italian finesse is the Nudo Collection. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Nudo’s hallmark minimalist silhouette has undoubtedly become Pomellato’s signature design.
Vincenzo Castaldo, the house’s creative director, explains its enduring success: “Meaning ‘naked’ in Italian, Nudo was born out of a daring creative intuition of transforming the solitaire into a passe-partout (go anywhere) ring. The rich colour palette, powerful simplicity and stackability are the collection’s main ingredients for success. Ironic yet elegant, Nudo shifted the attention from the diamond to the coloured gemstone. Its design is so strong, so unique and so simple that it’s virtually remained unchanged since the launch of its very first rings in 2001.”
These debut Nudo rings showcased vivid hues of garnet, aquamarine, peridot, iolite and red tourmaline. Eschewing convention in every way, the solitaires were squares, while the top of the stones had characteristic soft, asymmetrical faceting that diffracted light playfully. “The hand-made cut is a challenge that makes Nudo so special. The gem’s unique cut with 57 asymmetric facets is essential, irregular and unexpected,” describes Castaldo.
Flaunting what looks like an adaptation of a cabochon, a Classic-sized Nudo ring takes an artisan at Pomellato’s atelier in Milan four days to produce by hand. The gems seemingly float on air, thanks to a fixing system concealed within the collet at the base of each stone. Such has been Nudo’s incredible success that Pomellato has international copyrights for both its design and the cut.
The jeweller’s dedicated gemologists scour the world for unusual stones such as prasiolite, pink quartz, sky blue topaz, as well as universal favourites including aquamarine, amethyst and tourmaline. “Whether it’s a delicate nuance or a deeply intense tone, colour is undeniably a defining trait of Pomellato and Nudo. Every gem is special, but I particularly like brown diamonds, tanzanite and banded agate for their mysterious allure. Each hue creates an emotion and provides endless possibilities for mixing and matching,” says Castaldo, adding that he’d love to have grey spinel as a limited edition.
A double celebration
Pomellato presents two significant launches to commemorate 20 years of the Nudo. The first is the Nudo Chocolate, for which the house flexes its gemological muscle in conjuring the most sumptuous colour combinations. “We wanted to explore new nuances with gems we’d never used before, so we created the new Nudo Chocolate using a range of unusual varieties of moonstones,” Castaldo points out.
As enticing as a gourmand’s selection of cacao-inspired bonbons, the tribute pieces combine a range of rarely seen moonstone varieties bearing the shimmer of three shades of brown diamonds set in a seemingly random pattern, which lend an organic appeal to the pieces. Enhancing the breakaway jewels is the warm glow of rose gold that is sure to appeal to Nudo connoisseurs looking to add something new and exciting to their collection.
Three versions of the Nudo Chocolate rings are offered. The Maxi size model features a mysterious deep brown moonstone as alluring as dark chocolate. Reminiscent of a smooth milk chocolate slab is a rare orange moonstone that looks radiant on the original Classic-sized ring.
As sweet as white chocolate, the lightest tone is saved for the Petit ring, which flaunts a creamy brown moonstone that looks good enough to eat. Accompanying the rings are matching drop earrings that boast clean lines and come alive as they catch the light from all angles.
The second anniversary launch is an elegant yet modern open bangle set in rose gold, the Nudo Bracelet. Hallmark Nudo motifs breathe new life on this stylish take on a classic design that is both easy to wear and stackable. The clessidra (hourglass cut) lends volume and presence to the gemstones, which are girded at the centre with a gold band to allow light to stream through them.
All complemented with diamonds, the rigid bangle is offered in five striking colours. These include two azure hues of sky-blue topaz and London blue topaz. On the two lighter gemstone options, depth of colour is achieved by creating doublets that deftly combine two different gems: white topaz is enhanced by the lustre of mother-of-pearl, while soft rose quartz comes to life, courtesy of a slice of chalcedony. In contrast, dramatically dark obsidian is combined with black diamonds for an enigmatic look.
Aside from the anniversary pieces, the Nudo gem design adds new must-haves in Petit- and Classic-sized stones of amethyst, prasiolite and white topaz rings accented with diamond-set rose gold bands. To pair with the rings or to wear as a complete suite are playful drop earrings with rose gold chains and shimmering diamond pavé, as well as a two-stone lariat with diamond pavé and a cleverly integrated clasp.
Pomellato takes things up a notch with a new technique that imparts a frosted finish on three gemstones – a first for the collection. The Nudo Gelé finish is achieved by applying a satin-polish to the top of the softly faceted gems to create an alluring glacial effect and intensify the gem colour. Despite its apparent simplicity, the Nudo Gelé is composed of double or even triple layers of different stones, each seamlessly joined to create colours beyond nature’s palette.
For instance, a slice of chrysoprase is set beneath lemon quartz to add vibrancy and intensity to the Nudo Gelé ring and earrings. Fine layers of turquoise and mother-of-pearl add a shimmering, vivid nuance to sky blue topaz, while transparent white topaz is enhanced with the velvety, lustrous sheen of mother-of-pearl.
Evocative of sorbets in brilliant hues, the delightfully tactile Nudo Gelé jewels look delectable in zesty lemon, dusky cedar or herbal anisette iterations. A flashy addition to any existing collection or a striking statement worn on its own, the Nudo Gelé range includes charming matching earrings, as well as a pendant in sky blue topaz featuring turquoise and mother-of-pearl. Each jewel is meticulously hand-crafted from 100 per cent responsibly purchased gold as Pomellato commits to a more eco-conscious future.
(All images: Pomellato)