Bulgari: A Mediterranean Odyssey

by Susanah Cheok

Inspired by different facets of the Mediterranean universe, the stunning new high jewellery and watch collections by Bulgari bring forth multiple rich and magnificent worlds to you.

Bulgari’s Mediterranea Collection of haute jewellery and watches are, indeed – to quote Ariel – a whole new world. So dazzlingly ornate and intricate are each of the pieces for neck, lobes and wrist, even Neptune would be weak at the presence of its resplendent beauty.

With Mediterranea, Bulgari unveils its new high jewellery and high-end watches collections by embarking on an epic and immersive journey that starts from Rome, the eternal city and permanent source of creative inspiration for Bulgari, to Venice, the major crossroad of Mediterranean influences, where the Roman Byzantine Empire fused with the Roman Western Empire to give birth to inclusive and unrivalled arts and architecture. With great honour we celebrate the vision of the founder Sotirio Bulgari, with magnificent creations that represent the pinnacle of Bulgari identity made of audacious creativity and exceptional craftsmanship.

-Jean-Christophe Babin, Bulgari CEO

Eternal Gems

In the eyes of Lucia Silvestri, Bulgari Jewellery’s Creative Director, “This high jewellery collection is an homage to the Mediterranean beauty and essence in all its forms.”

The Southern Radiance creations metaphorically take your breath away, so imbued with a fiercely joyful spirit they are.

A tribute to the lively beauty of the Mediterranean Sea, the Mediterranean Muse necklace seduces with stunning gems in a charming range of blue, as well as with a magnetic and voluptuous torchon body (like a twisted towel) crafted from platinum and diamonds. While a central 15.13-carat cushion sapphire steals the limelight with its deep blue tone, a dynamic drop layout of aquamarines and diamonds evokes the rhythmic movement of ocean waves.

Like in Southern Italy’s Apulia region, where chalky Baroque villages overlook the sea with peaceful stillness, in the Southern Sapphire platinum necklace, an intricate, lace-like layout of shimmering diamonds and transparent sapphires unfolds around an incredible 66.88-carat Ceylon sapphire, evoking the mysterious azure depths of the Mediterranean Sea.

In the Roman Splendor range, a series of exquisite creations evoke some of the Eternal City’s most emblematic monuments, its inimitable light, as well as the fascinating mythology linked to its history.

The Roman Esedra sautoir (long necklace) boasts a magnetic 68.88-carat emerald set in a hexagonal pendant. A tribute to an iconic Bulgari piece dating back to the ‘70s, this necklace features a harmonious combination of gems, from emeralds, amethysts, to turquoises.

The Muse of Rome necklace has a unique structure that enhances the detachable central pendant with elegance and sophistication. Adding extra modernity to the piece, an emerald and South Sea pearl sautoir adds versatility to a creation that can be worn in several ways.

The Acanthus Emerald necklace is a masterpiece injected with timeless beauty and phenomenal craftsmanship, while the East Meets West pieces surprise as unexpected, fusion creations that express Bulgari’s open-minded vision.

The sinuous, warm dunes of deserts inspire the silhouette of the Oriental Fantasy necklace from East Meets West, where the fascinating colours of a layout of nine outstanding Mandarin garnets – over 90 carats – paired with vibrant citrines, immediately evoke the earthy hues of Northern African spice markets. A delicate combination of mother of pearl and black onyx are reminiscent of graphic motifs referencing the henna tattoos of Oriental women.

The Oriental Buds pink gold necklace is beautified with diamond pavé settings that are combined with pink tourmaline, sapphire and emerald beads, creating Indian Mughal-like shapes that add voluptuousness to this artwork of creativity and craftsmanship. The necklace comes with a matching secret watch.

With the Tribute to Venice High Jewellery necklace, Bulgari injects contemporary allure into a timeless design that evokes the splendour of Venetian architecture. This creation features a 15.38-carat fancy yellow diamond drop complemented by an exquisite layout of yellow and white diamonds, as well as by a cascade of diamond baguettes cut to reflect light at their best.

Nine sapphires from Sri Lanka, in a total of 40,81carats, bedeck the Mediterranean Sapphire Serpenti necklace, which evokes snake scales. These are set in a precise and sinuous platinum and pavé diamond body that culminates in a dramatic pendant tassel with 80 oval-shaped sapphire beads totalling 116 carats. The snake silhouette also references the Mediterranean sea’s unique cobalt tones.

Two of Bulgari’s most signature elements, the snake and the use of stunning emeralds, meet in the incredible Baroque Serpenti necklace. Seven voluptuous emerald drops, all irregularly-shaped, were carefully set to create a harmonious balance that enhances the gems’ transparency. They beautifully enrich a diamond and emerald body, where two snakes fuse in a celebration of strength and magnetism.

High Time

Since no other haute timepieces would do, in tandem with the opulent Meditteranea high jewellery collections, Bulgari unveils an exceptional range of matching high-end watches that combine the most brilliant Italian creativity with the most impeccable Swiss watchmaking tradition. These outstanding one-of-a-kind timepieces are for both women and men.

In the bold Southern Radiance pillar comes the Giardino Marino Grande secret watch, that, not surprisingly, required more than 3,900 hours to complete. It steals the spotlight with an exceptional combination of fishes, seashells, anemones set on tremblers, mobile corals, and decorated beads, all crafted from over 4,800 colourful precious stones and gems, carefully matched to obtain vibrant colour effects. By the lively reef, a starfish showing a central 3,96-carat cabochon rubellite, and a seashell paved with diamonds and Paraiba tourmalines, can be discovered. Both detachable, they can be worn as earrings to complement the watch. Fun fact: another sapphire-paved shell opens if you press the round diamond, revealing a pearl inside. The last treasure is hidden behind the central fish: the dial of the watch, which is powered by the Piccolissimo micro mechanical movement. With a 12mm diameter, a thickness of 2.50mm and a weight of just 1.30 grams, Bulgari’s Piccolissimo is the smallest round mechanical calibre on the market and a testament to the Maison’s art of miniaturisation.

An impressive degradé of blue and green defines the Giardino Marino Piccolo secret watch, where a reef featuring fishes, anemones, and seashells is recreated in a Southern Italy-inspired vibrant colour palette, with the use of diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, Paraiba tourmalines, tanzanite, green tourmalines, tsavorites, topaz and peridot. A central see-through topaz reveals the dial of the watch featuring the Piccolissimo mechanical micro round movement.

Under a cabochon-inspired dome, Bulgari recreated a miniaturised living aquarium in the Divas’ Dream Acquarium watch. Over a dial paved with degradé Paraiba tourmalines, sapphires and diamonds, two fishes, each of them enriched with two pear-shaped stones (the former with rubies and rubellites, the latter with Paraiba tourmalines and sapphires), ‘swim’, thanks to a sophisticated jewellery technique. For extra preciousness, the white gold flexible bracelet is paved with Paraiba tourmalines, sapphires and diamonds, while the case back is hand-engraved with a customised marine drawing.

Undisputed creativity and unparalleled craftsmanship brought to life the Octo Roma Mediterranea secret men’s watch, characterised by a precious octopus, crafted with diamonds, sapphires, emeralds and Paraiba tourmalines. The octopus gives the impression of stepping back, while its tentacles seem emerging from the medallion. Showing a 44 mm rose gold case set with diamonds and a blue alligator strap, the watch reveals an ultra-thin manual movement, BVL 268 SK calibre with flying tourbillon.

Celebrating and elevating its signature use of Greek and Roman coins within its collections, Bulgari decided to employ the antique art of cameo carving to enrich the Roman Splendor range.

The noble profile of Cleopatra appears as a cameo on the precious pendant of the Cameo Imperiale secret watch necklace. A rose gold chain is matched with a pendant concealing a watch, all featuring diamonds and brilliant-cut rubies. The watch case is also decorated with sapphires, while diamonds are speckled around the sophisticated tourbillon Lumière manual-winding mechanical movement, BVL 208 in gold, with a power reserve of 64 hours. This openwork mechanism represents a true watchmaking art, with all components decorated and finished by hand. Its intricate design allows light to shine through, creating a mesmerising effect that highlights the intricate details of the watch’s inner workings.

Also from the men’s range is the one-of-a-kind Octo Roma Secret Watch Cameo Imperiale that seduces with a platinum cap, where the profile of the Roman emperor is made in cameo and set with diamonds and lapis lazuli. Showing a precious 44 mm platinum case with diamonds and a black alligator strap, it reveals an ultra-thin manual winding mechanical movement, BVL 268 SK calibre with flying tourbillon. This mechanism is an openworked version of the brand’s record-breaking tourbillon movement. With a thickness of just under 2mm, it features a sleek and refined profile.

Celebrating the 75th anniversary since its first appearance in the Bulgari’s jewellery collections, the snake continues to take pride of place with two timepieces from the Serpenti 75 pillar in the Mediterranea line-up. 

The new Serpenti Misteriosi Pallini secret watch is inspired by 1955’s yellow gold and diamond Serpenti secret watch. Thanks to the introduction of the Piccolissimo movement, for the first time featured in a Pallini watch, the proportions were significantly reduced, guaranteeing an elegant aesthetic balance and a flawless fit. Exhibiting Bulgari’s unsurpassed reputation as the master of coloured gems, emeralds, Paraiba tourmalines and diamonds are wonderfully combined in this exclusive creation. These are set on tremblers guaranteeing dynamic movement for this patented bracelet design. The white gold watch head is enriched with round brilliant-cut diamonds and two pear-shaped emerald eyes.

Inspired by the Serpenti watch designed by Bulgari for Elizabeth Taylor when she played Cleopatra, the Serpenti Misteriosi Dragone secret watch shows a white gold dragon head drizzled with diamonds and featuring two pear-shape emerald eyes. The three-twirl white gold bracelet encrusted with round brilliant-cut diamonds and emeralds completes an extraordinary timepiece. Revealing Bulgari’s omnipresent playful touch, the snake head opens if you press the little forked tongue and reveals a dial that can be easily turned, so that the bejewelled timepiece can be worn on the left or right wrist.

Highlighting the offering’s eclectic spirit, western and eastern influences converge in the East Meets West range. Presented with a matching necklace, the Oriental Buds high-jewellery secret watch evokes a lush, exotic garden, its geometric symmetry inspired by Byzantine architecture. This exuberant and exceptional timepiece that required 900 hours to complete, features a stunning combination of diamonds, tourmalines, emeralds and sapphires infused with dynamic vibrancy. The secret watch is dominated by a 5.65-carat Colombian cushion-cut emerald nestled in a pavé-diamond setting of Indian Mughal-inspired motifs. Push the central emerald and the flower opens to reveal a dial augmented with scintillating diamonds.

Images courtesy of Bulgari, artwork by Curatedition. All rights reserved.

Related Links:

Bulgari: Bejewelled Time

Bulgari: Believe in Wonder

Bulgari Eden: A Stunning Harvest

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