Born to party: Bulgari’s Festa high jewellery collection

Featuring ice cream, balloons and red hot chili peppers, Bulgari brings a celebratory joy to high jewellery with the new Festa collection.

Bulgari Festa Palloncini balloon high jewellery necklace

The impressive new Festa collection of over 300 jewels and watches is one of the largest and most ambitious ever presented by Bulgari. Inspired by Italy’s feste or parties in their many guises, from children’s birthdays to traditional regional festivals and regal courtly balls, Bulgari reveals a collection bursting with colour that captures the euphoria of a celebration.

Festa Torta al Cioccolato high jewellery ring
Bulgari’s Chocolate Cake ring from the Festa high jewellery collection is one of three different delights for the finger. This version is made with onyx, coral, emerald and sapphires (POA). 

For all their fun, a carefully orchestrated equilibrium grounds Bulgari’s jewels. More than just whimsy, playful and easy to wear they may be but they are still very much Bulgari. As leading jewellery historian Vivienne Becker so aptly noted at the launch: “Bulgari was the leader in producing high jewellery for the new jet set in the 1970s who wanted more wearable jewels such as sautoirs. But everything Bulgari does is a fine balance between rigour and exuberance.” Combining the discipline of Roman architecture and its strong and regularly repeated forms, Bulgari tempers historical references with very contemporary colours and stone cuts.  Each jewel is an explosion of joy, yet a timeless Bulgari ambassador.

Dramatic drum rolls and foot-tapping tunes kicked off the jewellery catwalk launch in Venice’s majestic Scuola della Misericordia. A-list celebrities including Alicia Vikander, Bella Hadid, Lily Aldridge and Lily Moss lined the front row as the more dramatic pieces hit the runway.

Festa Lecca Lecca lollipop brooch
Recalling childhood parties, the Lollipop brooch from Bulgari’s new Festa collection captures this sweet treat in gold, emerald and white and yellow diamonds (POA). 

Director of Creation, Lucia Silvestri, who has worked with the company for over three decades, says: “Designing this collection has been an absolute joy. It is all about fun… Choosing a theme like Festa has allowed me a lot of creativity. Some jewels are linked to historical ladies famous for their outrageous lives, love stories and, of course, the wonderful Feste they used to give in their palaces. Others pieces refer to a specific town or region of Italy, like Siena, or Rome. Others are inspired by very basic symbols of happiness like ice creams, balloons and presents.”

The fun is contagious, and it all starts with the vivacious drops, swags, bursts and cabochons of luscious coloured gems that bring a smile to the wearer and beholder. From memories of childhood parties, pneumatic emeralds, amethysts, aquamarines and pink tourmaline cabochons are tapered to form a cloud of balloons released into the sky, their diamond ribbons rippling behind them (top of article).

Festa Gelati diamond-set ice lolly brooch
Showing a more playful side, Bulgari’s Festa Ice Lolly brooch sprinkles a traditional gelato with diamonds and reveals a raspberry ruby heart (POA).

A bite out of the corner of a diamond-set ice lolly brooch reveals a ruby-raspberry heart. Fondant-hued agate is the icing on a miniature pistachio cake ring, with ripe ruby cherries and a shiny emerald on top. Or you can have a chocolate cake with coral icing and emerald and sapphire sprinkles. A diamond-coated lollipop brooch with an emerald and yellow diamonds is almost good enough to eat.

Evoking the historic Palio of Siena, the different team flags are recreated in stone marquetry to form a necklace and bracelet. Ripe olives of amethyst, peridots and tourmalines festoon the neck in an ode to the bounty of the harvest festival.  Slices of amethyst form the skin of miniature gold tambourines, each complete with moving cymbals that tinkle with every step.

Festa Olive multi-coloured gemstone necklace
Bulgari’s Olive necklace from the Festa collection celebrates the olive harvest with an abundance of peridots, amethysts and tourmalines surrounded by diamonds to imitate an olive branch that curls around the neck (POA). 

Far from the village festivities, 30 jewels evoke the splendour of Italian princesses who hosted sumptuously decadent balls that lasted until dawn and the famous Roman Renaissance feste that included flooding the Piazza Navona to create an enormous pool to provide cool respite in the summer months.

The aristocrat’s jewels, eccentricities and excesses are at the heart of these more classic-style jewels. A 12.10-carat ruby flanked by diamonds represents the Cuore or heart of Rome in a necklace further adorned with Akoya pearls, above. Margherita di Savoia’s ballroom is reborn in an emerald and diamond necklace. Swags of diamonds and emeralds mimic the frescos on the ceiling, while an 11.43-carat Colombian emerald represents the lantern, all lit up with over 50 carats of diamonds. 

Festa The Green Liz cabochon emerald necklace
Named after a similar sapphire design made for Liz Taylor in 1969 by Bulgari, The Green Liz necklace features an impressive 59.10-carat sugarloaf-cut Colombian emerald (POA).

Living up to its name, the Il Magnifico necklace boasts an 180-carat cabochon sapphire inspired by Paolina Bonaparte, the Principessa Borghese. As an ode to a more contemporary gem royalty, The Green Liz reminds us of the sapphire necklace that Richard Burton gave Elizabeth Taylor on her 40th birthday. A 59.11-carat emerald, surrounded by an articulated diamond and emerald-set shield, is suspended from a long sautoir chain set entirely with emeralds and diamonds.

If I had to choose just one jewel it would be one of the Peperoncini necklaces. Glossy green tourmalines, amethysts and rubellites are carved into chili peppers and, as if strung out to dry after a harvest, form a playful necklace. Bold and colourful, this is the jewel I would wear to get the party started. 

Festa Peperoncini carved gemstone necklace
Bulgari’s Peperoncini necklace turns the staple of Italian cuisine into a high jewellery necklace with chili peppers carved out of green tourmalines, rubellites and amethysts, with a generous sprinkle of diamonds (POA). 

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