Watch & Jewellery
THE HOUSE WITH A WORLDLY GARDEN VIEW: Gucci’s Hortus Deliciarum High Jewellery Collection
Text by Kee | Photos courtesy of Gucci and Mert & Marcus
06.07.2022
Gucci’s 'Hortus Deliciarum' high jewellery collection
Gucci’s 'Hortus Deliciarum' high jewellery collection
Gucci’s 'Hortus Deliciarum' high jewellery collection
Gucci’s 'Hortus Deliciarum' high jewellery collection
Gucci’s 'Hortus Deliciarum' high jewellery collection
Gucci’s 'Hortus Deliciarum' high jewellery collection
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High jewellery is highly regarded at Gucci. To an extent, it has been a highly guarded secret by the powers that be as well since its debut in 2019 – and for good reason. Alessandro Michele and his team of experts have crafted a strong catalogue of themes that underscore the Gucci experience and fandom, ranging from the designer’s love of nature and the animal kingdom to even the supernatural and mythical. And Gucci isn’t going to let those who don’t vibe with these growing interests to pour cold water on its party. Michele, who is an avid student of the vintage jewellery game, must be doing something right in this genre as his first two runs at high jewellery have been well-received by loyalists willing to fork out for these custom creations that are slated to be future heirlooms. How do we know this? Try asking for a past design and you’re likely to be told it has found a new owner and never to be made again. Now in its third run, the Hortus Deliciarum, which means Garden of Delights in Latin, is turning the focus beyond the garden. Michele has turned into jewellery’s version of a time-travelling raconteur, walking us down roads less travelled and relaying tales long forgotten (or even made up for purposes of creativity).

Housed under five themes of this so-called travel diary, the first is the Grand Tour, an idea taken from 18th century European aristocrats and intellectuals in which they take a gap year-like absence in order to travel abroad to broaden the mind. Michele has narrowed down this experience to his culturally rich birthplace of Rome, where he believes every Grand Tour would consider as an important pit stop. The introduction of micro-mosaics in this series is a reminder of this storied craft from the 1800s that were popular as tourism keepsakes. Gucci has included several important ancient Roman landmarks in the line such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and waterfalls at Tivoli. They are embedded as part of necklaces, bracelets, earrings, brooches and gold pendants accompanied by sparkling gems like blue topazes, yellow beryls, and red and pink spinels.

The second chapter highlights the grandeur of India, in particular the richness of colours surrounding the India of the Maharajah. A mixture of colourful gemstones recalls the vivid costumes and silks of the royals and even the richness of hues of the country’s palaces and gardens. Michele has picked stones that possess “the magical, hypnotic quality of twilight” with rubellite, imperial topaz, and tourmaline in the mix. Expect solitaire rings with heart-cut stones and multi-strand necklaces displaying a spectrum of colours that recall the Holi festival. Meanwhile, the third set belongs to the mystic of the pearl, which according to Greek mythology, the pearl “is born from the foam of the sea and solidified on Aphrodite’s skin.” Gucci has reminded us that pearls were also the most magical gift that Caesar gifted to Cleopatra. Michele has kept travel on his mind here as the pearl is celebrated in both the East and the West, with the former celebrating its natural beauty and mystic whilst the latter has attached historical meaning to its existence. In this scenario, Gucci has paired cream, white, and black pearls with imperial topazes to create a jewellery suite featuring a necklace, earrings, and brooches.

In a change of pace, Michele then referenced the skyscrapers of the New World as an inspiration for the fourth chapter. Structure plays an integral part of the design DNA here such as geometric shapes like hexagonal links. But trust the designer to bend some of the rules with the addition of large stones to add drama into the mix. Here, flexible chains feature amethyst, aquamarine, and cushion-cut blue-grey beryl. Lastly, Michele has returned us to his favourite disco era to showcase Gucci’s playful and free use of colours synonymous with its clothes. Michele’s obsession with talismans are well-represented here with several up for grabs including white gold chains paired with hexagonal emerald, pear-shaped green tourmaline, and aquamarine set in a green enamel frame with baguette-cut diamonds. One thing’s for certain: these sparkling pieces won’t be short on high-value suitors.

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