As Bvlgari collaborates with her highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan on a high jewellery collection we meet with Creative Director Lucia Silvestri to discover the fruit of this partnership.
Bvlgari’s latest high jewellery collection “Jannah” was born through a partnership between the Roman jeweller and Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a member of the United Arab Emirates Royal family. The collection celebrates the two beautiful cities of Abu Dhabi and Rome through a series of spectacular jewellery creations, replicating the passion and heritage of the UAE and the beauty and elegance of Italy. The Jannah Collection is the story of two powerful families coming together in a celebration of shared values and reverence for heritage.
“Jannah”, meaning “paradise” was two years in the making. Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who first had the idea of collaborating with Bvlgari over two years ago, is the granddaughter of Sheikh Zayed Bint Sultan Al Nahyan. Throughout her life, the Sheikha found inspiration, guidance and beauty in her grandparents’ stories and this is what has inspired her vision for the future. There is a nod to the Sheikha’s values through the Jannah collection which is inspired by a ve-petal ower, found inside the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi and representing the bond between two special cities.
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is the most prominent embodiment of such values and therefore became the centre point of inspiration for these pieces. Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan met with Bvlgari’s Creative Director Lucia Silvestri and the two spent many hours sharing stories and their experiences of two different worlds and bonded through their love for beauty and family and an unmistakable zest for life. One of the recurring themes shared between these two new confidants was the Princess’s admiration for her grandparents and their tireless pursuit for tolerance and peace in the region. When visiting the Grand Mosque, Lucia was inspired by the delicate five petals flowers that adorn the Carrara marble ceilings and architecture: and so Jannah was born.
Lucia Silvestri is truly the heart and soul of Bvlgari. Having been part of the jewellery house since she was just 18 years old, today Silvestri lives and breathes the Bvlgari ethos. She embodies the elegance and glamour that Bvlgari is known for and continues to reinvent the legacy of the house again and again. When she began working on this project Silvestri was instantly inspired by the UAE and Sheikha Fatima’s passion for life. Here we talk to Lucia Silvestri about Jannah and her passion for what she does.
What can you tell us about how “Jannah” came to life?
Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan reached out to one of our sales advisors as she wanted to know much more about Bvlgari from a historical point of view and gain an understanding of the history of the brand. So she invited me to Abu Dhabi to meet with her and we instantly had a connection. I loved her energy and curiosity and the feeling I got when I talked to her. She asked me a lot of questions about myself and she expressed how she would like to work with me to create something. She told me of her love for her grandfather and how he is her idol and how she wanted to do something for him.
At that time I had never been to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque but Sheikha Fatima told me that she would like to do something inspired by the mosque, so I visited with one of my designers and we spent five hours taking pictures and talking about the beauty and architecture. Then there were the flowers and the geometry. The third link was light and harmony. The harmony in the mosque between the colours and materials and lines was key for me. We took a lot of photographs and started to talk about the symbols that we had seen and how we could incorporate them.
We then started creating some sketches and I met with Sheikha Fatima again and told her how impressed I was with the mosque and that I was ready for us to work together. At this point, she hugged me and I felt her energy. I will never forget that hug. She came to Rome and we started to work together. She gave me a brief to work around and let me go with it. She told me that she wanted to include a beautiful emerald in memory of her grandmother and that was the first piece we worked on.
In the beginning, the idea was to create just a few pieces for the Sheikha and her grandmother and other family members, but when she saw the beauty of the collection she realised that it could be something much bigger. Even with fine jewellery not only high jewellery. From the beginning to the end the project took two and a half years.
How proud are you of this collection?
I am very proud. This is one of the best moments of my career. When I saw Sheikha Fatima two days ago we hugged again and there was a great emotion. I think it was the same for her too.
What would you still like to achieve that you haven’t done yet?
There are many things but I like challenges so I hope for many more new challenges and I hope to work with Sheikha Fatima again. For me, it was one of the best experiences of my life. There was so much creativity and an incredible feeling of two different cultures coming together. I think this could be just the beginning!
How do you empower yourself as a woman?
It’s about determination and passion. The passion that I have for my job, my life and myself is something that has been with me from the beginning. I remember when I started working as a young woman in a man’s world and nobody wanted to negotiate with me. If I was selecting stones that was OK but negotiating – no – the opinion was that this is business, not for women, it’s for men. Especially in the world of gemstones. But I was very determined and I had a dream to become one of the biggest buyers in the world and I was determined to achieve that. I tell every woman in the world to please follow your dreams. Don’t forget that you can do anything.
What is a lesson you have learnt in your life?
I am still learning and that never stops. I learn from young people, old people. I’m very connected to young people but people with experience are very important to me. I can learn a lot from them and that’s why I need to connect with people. Also, I’m incredibly proud when I see a collection come to life as we have here in the UAE. It is incredible because I know that I believed in myself and in what I do from when I started at the age of 18. I have always felt that I need to follow my instinct.
What would you tell your younger self?
I would tell her ‘you will make a few mistakes but do your best, follow your dreams and don’t be shy. Sometimes you have to be tougher, but kinder and never forget your femininity.’
Do you think as a woman success comes at a price?
This is something that is definitely changing. I had to be determined and that was very important. I don’t feel that men are stronger than women, I think that we are stronger than them and we have to believe in this. As women, we need to stick together and not be in competition with each other.
If you weren’t working for Bvlgari what would you be doing?
When I was very young I wanted to be a fashion designer or work in communication but I was so shy that it would never have happened. I then started studying biology and I thought I could be a biologist but I completely changed my path and followed my instinct.
Is there anything you regret?
Not really. I think I would make the same mistakes again because from every mistake I learnt a lot.
What do you say no to?
Vulgarity and people that are too aggressive or not genuine.
What is a lesson that you can share with us?
My mum is my idol and she told me to always forgive people and not hold grudges. So this is what I try to do.
What is your perfect way of unwinding and disconnecting?
A few years back I bought a small house in the south of Italy. There I find great food, great weather and great people. It’s very small but it is where I go to relax and unwind.
What is one thing you would promise yourself to do this year and what are you going to achieve for yourself?
I would like to be myself and be honest with everyone. I don’t want to be a star. I’m just Lucia and I want to remain true to who I am.