Alessandro Michele’s second high jewellery collection for Gucci channels the flora and fauna of Mother Nature with cascading diamond fringe, rare gemstones and striking solitaires
With its 18-hectare botanical gardens home to over 50 species of mammals and birds, some of Italy’s oldest trees and countless tropical flowers, the mid-19th century neoclassical residence of Villa Pallavicino, nestled in the resort town of Stresa, Italy, was the perfect backdrop for the unveiling of Gucci’s new high jewellery collection earlier this year. Inspired by the flora, fauna and mesmerising hues of the sky and its shifting colours at various times of the day, Hortus Deliciarum, which translates to ‘Garden of Delights’ in Latin, may only be Alessandro Michele’s second jewellery collection for the Florentine fashion house, yet it could definitely be Gucci’s most spectacular to date. What’s more, as a member of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), you can rest assured that the creation of each and every piece follows responsible, ethical, social and environmental best practices for gold and diamonds, with all gold 100 per cent certified under the Responsible Jewellery Council Chain of Custody certification scheme.
Comprising more than 130 pieces of high jewellery, many of which are one-of-a-kind, the all-new collection is defined by Italian artistry, vivid gemstones that Gucci has been collecting for years, and hyper-bold settings that come together to create pieces that Mother Nature, Michele’s ultimate muse, would be proud of. Reminiscent of the ready-to- wear creations that Michele brings to the catwalk each season, he incorporates a kaleidoscope of colours and motifs loved by both himself and the Maison, which are unveiled across four distinct chapters.
First up is an ode to nature, with the majestic beauty of the world’s most picturesque landscapes brought to life through a strict curation of green and blue gems. Cascades of diamonds evoke the unstoppable and free-flowing nature of sparkling waterfalls, with Michele recovering the 18th-century technique of en tremblant, translating to ‘to tremble’ in French, which describes the light dancing movement of the pieces when worn. Evocative of the roaring twenties, tasseled necklaces and chandelier earrings also make an appearance in an array of violet and plum-coloured spinals floating amongst the diamonds and lagoon-like Paraiba tourmalines, crafted to pay tribute to the bright azure hues of the ocean. Michele’s second chapter is inspired by the hypnotic hues of a sky at sunset, channeling gothic nuances from the nineteenth century. A particular highlight is the Georgiana collet-set Rivière necklace with diamond pavés, mystic opals, spessartite garnets and tourmalines that perfectly recreate the fleeting gradual shift in colours of the sky from dawn to dusk.
The romantic rose motif forms the foundation chapter three, which houses the most delicate pieces from the collection. Here each gemstone is chosen for its soft, light colour – think the pinkish-orange Padparadscha sapphire which come set against the gentle indigo of indicolite tourmalines – with each piece designed to showcase various interpretations of the elegant flower. As such, certain necklaces are designed with detachable pendants to be worn as an auspicious charm or brooch, with blooms and their landscapes brought to life through these unique gemstones. Last but not least, the fourth chapter depicts Gucci’s animal kingdom, with the infamous lion head symbol and raging tigers taking centre stage. Collier-style necklaces come infused with sky-blue tanzanite, verdant tsavorites and sunny yellow beryls, with the highlight being 16.36 carat opal surrounded by a glimmering pride of 22 lions, all under the watchful eye of Dionysus, the Greek god of nature, pleasure and ecstasy. Elsewhere in the chapter you’ll find emerald-cut coloured gemstones juxtaposed with pavé heirloom settings such as Afghani mint tourmaline, sunset-pink rubellite, orange sapphires, blushed rosé topaz and a mandarin garnet.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Michele has also introduced several high jewellery timepieces to the collection, with lion heads, one of his most treasured House symbols, appearing on a range of dazzling diamond-laden bracelets, rotating to reveal and conceal ocean-blue Australian opal dials. They are set with violet tanzanite and rainbows of peridots, pink tourmalines, rubellites and mandarin garnets, and diamond-set flowers form precious clasps. Other variations include a dazzling brooch with pavé-set lions and an ethereal peacock-hued opal dial, as well as a bangle watch imbued with 275 perpendicular Art Deco diamond baguettes. Bravo, Michele – quite frankly, we want it all. Explore the collection