Impossible Necklaces at Bulgari

15 Jun 2022

Lucia Silvestri, creative director for high jewellery at Bulgari, has a daily routine that would make any gem-lover green with envy. It’s her morning espresso, she says. Taking an envelope filled with coloured sapphires, she gently decants it onto the desk in front of her, slowly pouring out a glittering circle. There’s a soft cascading sound, the pastel colours flash lilac, pink, yellow: there are nearly a thousand carets of these cut Sri Lankan gems. The light reflects off each stone uniquely. With the sapphires spilled out before her, Lucia caresses them into the form of a necklace, pauses, considers what she has created, and decides that it needs to be richer. Her finger makes a space in the ring of sapphires, and then, examining the important stones laid out nearby, Lucia selects a 63 carat Colombian emerald and places it at the centre. ‘Okay. Done. Impossible necklace,’ she concludes with a smile.

Lucia has worked at Bulgari for forty years, and has been creative director for almost ten. Her creativity is led by a deep knowledge and appreciation of the gems, her background at the company is in gemmology. She’ll begin working on her inspirations for a new collection a year in advance, but at the back of that she will have begun collecting the gems two or three years in advance. She travels around the world to secure the rare cut stones that Bulgari is so well known for. Creating the final piece may take as many as two-thousand hours. Sometimes more.

Then, on a wax tablet, Lucia began setting out teardrop-shaped emeralds to create a necklace just for us. Combining emeralds with tourmalines of an angular cut, at Vanessa’s suggestion, Lucia says, ‘Something that I learned from Mr Bulgari: don’t be shy. You have to be daring, even if the value is completely different. You can enhance the beauty. Together with the creativity, it becomes a piece of art.’

When Vanessa travelled to Rome to film with Lucia for the History of Jewellery Design: Part II course, she wanted to talk about the process of creating high jewellery, but she also wanted to look at some of the incredible pieces now in the Bulgari heritage collection. Besides remarkable serpenti, still being used as inspiration today, was a sautoir from around 1970. A 127 carat emerald pendant as its focus, suspended on links set with cabochon citrines, amethyst, turquoise, rubies… ‘When I see a necklace like this, I am stimulated to do better,’ said Lucia.

We will never pass your personal information to anyone outside of Christie's Education for their own marketing purposes without your consent. For more information about how Christie's Education processes your data, please click here to read our Privacy Notice.