Bulgari’s Lucia Sivestri © Shutterstock

‘I believe in the energy of stones, so holding this gift of nature in your hand, because let’s not forget that stones and gemstones are gifts of nature, and working with these stones is a gift.’ Lucia Silvestri

• 2023 will mark Lucia Silvestri’s 10-year anniversary as Bulgari’s Jewellery Creative Director, but she has been with the house for more than 40 years, having started part-time in the gemmological department when she was 18, while studying biology. She became fully employed by the brand when she was 22.

• When Silvestri began working with the company, Bulgari had only three or four stores, now they have more than 200.

• She did, of course, have some incredible mentors: Paolo, Nicola and Gianni Bulgari, the grandsons of the founder of the brand, Sotirio Bulgari. (The brand began in Rome in 1884.) The brothers recognised her aptitude with and love of the gems, and she has often talked about the times she was allowed to “play” with the stones at the end of her working day. One of the first things she learned though was never “to buy a stone unless you know how to use it”. She described these early lessons more fully in an interview with L’Officiel: “One of the first things I learned,” she says, “is to select and then acquire gems only if I could see a possible use for them, which means that in the very act of purchasing, before the design and realisation phases, I was imagining compositions of colours and forms that might suggest the pieces of jewellery that they would become.”

• Silvestri filmed a series of “Masterclasses” throughout the two years of the pandemic. This is how she introduces the first one: “I am fortunate to combine a job I’m passionate about with my biggest passion, that for gemstones.”

• Stones are her passion, but which is her favourite? “If I have to choose one, it is the Sapphire, because of the many colours it has,” she told the magazine Lampoon. In her Masterclass at Home, she goes further: “The sapphire is a stone I’m passionate about, which I love perhaps more than all the others… Their distinguishing characteristic is their vivaciousness, their elegance. The sapphire is a sophisticated stone, it really is for people who are extremely elegant and sophisticated.”

• Her love of sapphires developed early in her career. She describes her “first wow” to Harpers Bazaar: “…it was in Sri Lanka. I saw this huge parcel of fancy pear-shaped coloured sapphires, and I went crazy because of the colours, because of the brilliance of the gems. It was my first wow.”

• She is the collections’ biggest advocate, of course, and when you see her trying on each piece of Bulgari’s high jewellery, her enjoyment of their vibrancy is palpable: “When you wear a beautiful necklace it has to be soft on the skin,” she has said. And to the New York Times, in an interview that marked 40 years with Bulgari in 2019, she said: “As a woman, I like jewels that are flexible, that aren’t rigid.”

• Rome is the great inspiration for Bulgari, and for Lucia Silvestri. “Rome is fundamental,” she has said. The connection with the city is unbreakable, from the Monete with its antique coins at the centre of every piece to the more recent Parentesi collection, which originated in the detail of the Eternal City pavements. But the 2021 Magnifica High Jewellery collection is where you will find Rome writ large – “magnificently expressing its Roman DNA”.

In the making: Bulgari’s ‘ultimate tribute to beauty’ – part of its 2021 Magnifica collection

• Silvestri on emeralds: They are “cheerful gemstones, full of light alive” and “you should be able to see the world of the stone inside the emerald.” She admits that she can “spend hours looking inside an emerald”, such is the depth that you can find in a beautiful stone.

• She is also passionate about the hidden energy of gemstones: “I believe in the energy of stones, so holding this gift of nature in your hand, because let’s not forget that stones and gemstones are gifts of nature, and working with these stones is a gift.”

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