In addition to designing the actual pieces, Silvestri also creates new gem cuts when needed: “I don’t like ‘artichokes’ — stones that are too high,” she says.
The distinctive Takhti cut is a flat-backed rectangular cabochon, and a stroke of brilliance as a new addition to the Bulgari design signature. Bulgari was also brave enough to turn precious gemstones into beads and add them to much of their current fine jewellery collection to provide a sense of movement.
Bulgari has a few distinctive characteristics, with the first being colour. With its Italian flair, there’s no fear here and rubies, sapphires, emeralds and amethysts are often combined in riotous splendour.
Rome also serves as endless inspiration. Each year a collection will include a graphic reference to a Roman symbol, and the maison involves itself in the city’s wellbeing. In 2016, for example, Bulgari funded the refurbishment of the famous Spanish Steps just 100m from their flagship boutique on the Via Condotti.
And then there’s the cabochon. When all the others were faceting their stones for maximum sparkle, Bulgari believed in the rich, deep and sensual effect of the smooth-as-can-be cabochon.
At the Bulgari workshop on the outskirts of Rome, a single craftsman works on each piece of jewellery and each major design from the high jewellery collection can take up to four months to make by hand.
This year the theme of the Bulgari collection is Serpenti, with the seductive serpent inspiring everything from jewellery to handbag clips. The hypnotic brilliance of jeweled snake heads and graphic interpretations of snake scales are all features in the 2016 collection.