This season, don’t do things in half measures. Instead, follow Gucci’s lead, and show what it means to be dripping in gems – with magical beasts, flowers and symbols of nature beckoning in all their sparkling, bejewelled splendour. The Hortus Deliciarum (“Garden of Delights” in Latin) is the Italian luxury fashion house’s second collection of high jewellery, and an extravagant ode to the majesty, wonder and beauty of the natural world.
Drawing heavily on the symbolic motifs that are dear to creator Alessandro Michele, as well as Gucci’s large iconography, the 130-plus pieces of jewellery – mostly one-of-a-kind – fall into four chapters, each inspired by different elements of Mother Nature.
The Rococo bow motif seen here is a symbol off renewal and love.
The first chapter pays homage to the majestic beauty of natural landscapes, with natural features such as waterfalls and softly windblown forestry re-created in miniature – cascades of diamonds conjure up images of a waterfall while quivering en tremblant Victoriana leaves and stars bring to mind shooting meteors and the delicate harmony of nature.
In the second chapter, the saturated, hypnotic hues of the sunset sky serve as inspiration. The fleeting magic of nightfall is translated into highly romantic, bold (and a touch gothic) settings – with opals and topazes sitting alongside spessartite garnets and tourmalines in a mix of rich, warm colours on a stunning necklace where an eight-carat opal takes pride of place. Michele describes the gems’ ever-so-slightly mismatched colours as “discordant symmetry” – to channel the transcendent ephemerality of a sky’s rapidly-changing colours as day passes into night.
Quivering en tremblant Victoriana stars on some of the pieces such as this necklace evoke shooting meteors and the delicate harmony of Mother Nature.
The romanticism of a rose garden is what drives the third chapter – the most delicate and feminine of the four. Rococo bows and talismanic sautoirs pay homage to botanicals, and suggest renewal and love. Each gemstone is carefully picked for its delicate, light colour, such as the sunset-hued pinkish-orange Padparadscha sapphire, which resembles a rose petal on the cusp of blooming, and the deep indigo of the indicolite tourmalines, which is as inky as a night sky. Some necklaces are also designed with detachable pendants to be worn separately.
The collection comprises more than 130 pieces which are largely one-of-a-kind.
Finally, the fourth chapter revisits the animal kingdom, evoking mythic beasts and ancient fauna. Here, the symbolic strength of the lion, the courage of the tiger, and the magical mysticism of Dionysus come powerfully into play. Sky-blue tanzanites encircle the neck, clasped by roaring, diamond-encrusted lion heads and paired with serpentine opals and verdant tsavorites.
In short, this is bold, lavish jewellery. And frankly, we can’t think of a more unabashed way of bidding farewell to a lacklustre year and saying a loud “hello” to a better one ahead.