Lucia Silvestri, Creative Director at Bulgari discuss the latest chapter of the Jannah collection, a special partnership in collaboration with Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
In 2020 Bulgari introduced the Jannah collection. A collection that was a result of the coming together of Lucia Silvestri, Bulgari’s Creative Director, and Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan to create a special collection that transcends cultures and generations. The high jewellery collection which was unveiled last year was a huge success and today, the story continues as the Roman jeweller presents chapter two of Jannah; a beautiful fine jewellery collection that honours the first Jannah designs. Under the wish of Her Highness this new collection allows for a wider audience to discover a part of Jannah through new pieces that, much like the first designs, are inspired by the interior of Abu Dhabi’s iconic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
The symmetrical five-petal “Jannah” flower was designed by Lucia Silvestri when she created the first collection and that same geometric symbol is reimagined on the new collection, combining elegant Mother of Pearl and rose gold. Her Highness said of the collection: “It is so light and beautiful, literally heaven. This is Sheikh Zayed’s message through a work of art.” Inspired by her late grandfather Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the collection represents a message of peace and love.
The collection, which was launched in Dubai, consists of six delicate and refined 18-carat rose gold creations that can be worn alone or layered together for a modern, everyday look. Embedded in a circular gold frame, the five-petal Jannah flower is set with iridescent mother-of-pearl inserts and dazzling diamond pavé stones. A sophisticated pendant necklace with matching pendant earrings is finished with a shimmering gold and diamond tassel. Stud earrings, a soft bracelet and an elegant pendant necklace complete the collection, while a versatile sautoir features two-sided discs – with or without diamond pavé lines which can be rotated to create different compositions. As the collection launches in UAE stores, we sat down with Lucia Silvestri to find out more.
Tell us about the new Jannah fine jewellery collection and how it came to life.
First of all, I want to say that collaborating with Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan has been a fantastic experience. When I met her for the first time she told me about her traditions and the love she has for her grandfather and the Grand Mosque and she was so proud. We immediately felt that we have the same values: family, love for what we do and tradition. The second time I met her I came to the UAE with my designer, and we went to the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi and we took so many pictures and started to think about the geometry in the design. We design our jewels with a lot of geometry, and we didn’t want to have something that was too romantic. We wanted to create a flower but in a contemporary way with the geometry that we saw at the mosque. We also saw a lot of marble and that is why we have chosen to play with Mother of Pearl in this collection. It’s a very wearable collection and very feminine and elegant.
How long did this collection take to come to life?
It took less time than the high jewellery collection because we already had the basics and with this collection, we played around with the flower and the design that we already had. The details are the same and the quality of the craftsmanship is the same. The pieces are very feminine and playful, and they can be layered. The idea was that it had to be simple and elegant and for everyday wear and I think that is what we have. It’s amazing to see this collection come to life and Her Highness was very happy to have this collection.
How was the experience of creating something specifically for the Middle East?
I didn’t know it could be such a great experience. Working with Her Highness was fantastic. I remember the first appointment I had with her, I was a little bit scared because, for me, a Sheikha is a like a queen. But when I met her, she was so nice, and I felt at home. We have common values as I mentioned and I think Italian culture and UAE culture both value warmth, hospitality and family – so this was when I realised, we could work together. As you know in Rome we are living in a city that is like an open museum and when I went to the mosque I immediately felt this same beauty. There was such great energy. You can see the light and the white and gold everywhere and it’s so beautiful. The whole process was a beautiful journey from the beginning to the end.
We know you have started to travel after the pandemic – tell us about your recent trips and how you get inspiration from different sources around the world?
I recently went back to India after two years and it was very important for me to be back there. I worked with my team via Zoom for two years, but it was not the same because I have this need to touch the gems. I was in India for a week and as soon as I arrived, I immediately felt at home again. I like to touch the stones and experiment with new cuts. I saw some of the rough stones and I started to dream about new stones for our upcoming collections. I discovered new gems which we are already planning to use for our collections in 2023. We start to work on each collection one year before, but to find the stones I have to start much earlier. I can’t say too much but I will work with new stones for our 2023 collection which we found in Jaipur. I was so happy and excited because I saw the stones from the rough cut. I’m proud to say that I am the only one in the jewellery industry who can follow the process of the stones from the rough to the finished product. As a woman, I am very proud to be working in a male-dominated world and be the only one who can say this. So, I know the real story of each jewel.
Speaking of women, being a woman in this industry, do you see any changes in the way people look at you since so much emphasis has been put on women’s empowerment and equality?
We as women have had to work hard for these changes to happen. When I started working in this industry over 40 years ago it was completely different. Things have changed, but we still must continue to work hard. In my position yes, it is different because people know who I am, and I have the power of my experience. Only with experience and determination you can do it. But there is a message that I want to give to all women: be determined and persistent, but also with femininity. Don’t forget that we are women, and we can achieve our goals but with elegance and femininity.
You have been with Bulgari for many years and achieved a lot, what is something that you would still like to do?
There is always something new that I would like to achieve. I love to have new challenges and to do something new in terms of designs and collections. My challenge in this company is to always create something new but continue to honour the legacy of the company in all our products. When I create new designs, I want to say; “yes it’s new, but it’s Bulgari.”
Across history, jewellery has always reflected its era, what is a collection that you would like to see reflecting what we are living today?
Today, I see a lot of competition. Everyone is creating high jewellery pieces and honestly, I don’t see very beautiful jewels, I see massive jewels that are less elegant. So, I think it is a little bit of a confusing period. But from my side and from the brand I can say that our clients are looking for quality. Quality in terms of the gems and the craftsmanship. And this is the direction that we are following.
What are your thoughts on your customers in the Middle East and what do you think they are looking for from jewellery today?
I love our customers here because I love the way they wear jewels. They are very proud to show the jewels that they are wearing. In Europe, things are a lot more hidden, but here in the Middle East, I am very happy to see my jewellery being worn by these beautiful ladies. And that’s why it’s important for me to come here, to see how women are wearing our jewels.
We know you are already working on the next high jewellery collection. If you were to describe in one word what would it be?
What is a final message you would like to send to our readers and your clients in the region?
Wear jewels with joy and don’t keep them in a safe because they are pieces of art. Jewels are forever and for generations to come so wear them with joy.