Bulgari presents Colour Journey, a capsule collection of high jewellery, watches and handbags that is the initial step in a voyage of immersion in the wondrous world of gemstones. For the initial collection, Bulgari has focused on the magnificent aqua-green Paraiba tourmaline, which so vividly showcases the Roman jeweller’s inimitable confidence when it comes to creating brilliant combinations of colour. Seventeen jewels, two watches and handbags with gem-set handles set the tone for Bulgari’s opulent and awe-inspiring initial Colour Journey.
The Paraiba tourmaline or cuprian elbaite tourmaline - as it is more prosaically known - is one of the most rare and sought after gemstones in the world. For every 10,000 diamonds unearthed, there is but one Paraiba tourmaline. This captivating neon blue-green stone was first discovered by gem-hunter Heitor Dimas Barbosa in the 1980’s in the Brazilian state of Paraiba. Imagine his delight on discovering the unreal, electric blue of this tourmaline that has since captivated the world and rocketed in value. Mozambique offers another source of a similar form of cuprian elbaite with very small chemical differences in its composition compared to its Latin American cousin across the Atlantic. It is the presence of copper and manganese that give this tourmaline its scintillating play of colour and dazzling light that unlike other gems, beams out even in the weakest light. The copper-rich mountains of Mozambique offer a tantalising luminous green hue that has to be seen in real life to be fully appreciated. What’s more, unlike diamonds, Paraiba tourmaline are not often found in large sizes meaning that anything over 2 carats is extremely unusual.
With characteristic gusto and enthusiasm Bulgari’s design team has thrown itself deep into the azure depths of this stone and created breathtakingly glamorous one-of-a-kind jewels bursting with exuberance and Roman splendour. At the heart of these creations are two show-stopping necklaces. The minty, luminous green of seven cushion-cut Paraiba tourmalines make a striking contrast against the soft pink of sapphires, woven together into a necklace with a sensually sinuous ribbon of rose gold set with a generous amount of diamonds. The second necklace is worthy of a diva in a Fellini film with cascades of lushly coloured pear-cut Paraiba tourmalines, verdant emeralds and sea-blue tanzanites tumbling down the neck that evoke the shimmering beauty of a perfect summer day on Italy’s Mediterranean coast.
Lucia Silvestri, Bulgari’s tireless Creative Director and seasoned gem-hunter, has scoured the world for the very best Paraiba tourmalines as seen in the impressively large gems at the pulsing heart of two of the most valuable rings. A 5.6-carat lagoon-green tourmaline is framed by a river of emeralds while a 3.35-carat sky-blue tourmaline offers an intriguing contrast to the warmth of pink sapphires and emeralds.
Two Astrale watches are set with Paraiba tourmalines, aquamarines and pink and purple sapphires that are lit up by hundreds of diamonds to create an ethereal halo of colour around the dials. Two one-off handbags with gem-set handles complete the dazzling line up of Bulgari’s very first Colour Journey. Where Bulgari will take us next is yet to be revealed, but this is a promising first stride on what promises to be an expedition into the very heart of colour.