Jewelry and Watches

Bulgari Jewels in an Edenic Setting? Paradise Found

If flowers could last forever, who wouldn’t want to wear lush gardenias in their hair, a garland of wildflowers and intricately tendriled leaves and vines at their collarbone or a miniature bed of tulips on their wrist? 

Everlasting natural blossoms, sadly, remain pure fantasy, But floral-inspired fine jewelry may well be the next best thing. Bulgari’s latest high-jewelry concept realizes the vision beautifully — and to dramatic effect — with a heady display of emeralds, padparadscha sapphires, rubellites and other colored gems arranged into bouquets of the most covetable and collectible variety.

That collection is showcased in a new book from Rizzoli. Bvlgari Eden: The Garden of Wonders is a meditation on exotic florals crafted by the design house’s creative director, Lucia Silvestri, in collaboration with fashion journalist Simone Marchetti and acclaimed fashion and art photographer Cho Gi-Seok.

To capture the essence of the collection, Cho created visuals that incorporate the jewels in lush, tactile-looking photographs of flowers. In these pages, you’ll find elegantly striped tulips, spiky proteas and dew-soaked poppies interspersed with wondrous jewels.

Naturally, quite a few snake pieces, from Bulgari’s iconic Serpenti Collection — which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year — are slithering around this vision of Eden, including several intricately coiled, and rather thick, diamond collars. 

In one, the snake’s head is resplendent with emerald and paraiba tourmaline scutes. Another dangles a humongous, 61.31-carat pear-shape sapphire pendant. In still another piece, the snake, this time in rose gold, sits amid ruby-colored nerines and aubergine anemones while cradling a raspberry-hued spinel — one of the rarest ever mounted in a Bulgari jewel, according to the house’s Instagram feed.

Aside from the Serpenti collection, nature is not historically one of Bulgari’s most prominent inspirations. And when the house has embraced floral themes, the reference is usually more oblique, the end product more streamlined and subdued. 

A few examples are available on 1stDibs. Consider a circa 1960 brooch with delicate petals of deep yellow agate surrounding a diamond-dotted center. Or imagine yourself in a contemporary ring bearing two blossoms composed of multicolored sapphires and diamonds, plus a similarly styled necklace from the end of the past century. There’s also a 34-carat-diamond and gold brooch from the 1960s in the form of a stylized bloom. It would look equally alluring pinned on an ensemble or hanging from a gold chain as a pendant.

Among the sought-after Serpenti jewels, 1stDibs dealers currently have available quite a few to complement those showcased in the book. Not least among them, a contemporary diamond, ruby and gold necklace and a coordinating bracelet, as well as a rare 1970s natural coral and gold watch, whose snake’s eyes are pear-shape rubies. 

If the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden were half as tempting as these jewels, it’s no wonder that Adam and Eve couldn’t resist.

Cover of Rizzoli book Bvlgari Eden: The Garden of Wonders
Rizzoli collaborated on BuLGARI EDEN: THE GARDEN OF WONDERS with the house’s creative director, Lucia Silvestri; fashion journalist Simone Marchetti; and fashion and art photographer Cho Gi-Seok.

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