Magnifica, Bulgari’s high jewelry collection designed to match the greatest western fortunes
Never in the history of the jewelry house were this many extraordinary precious stones assembled in only one collection, unique in volumes and carats. Let’s decipher the ambitions of the roman jeweler in the post-covid era.
By Cristina D’Agostino21 juin 2021
We have been increasing our purchases of precious stones, because we are convinced that there is a clientele for these products.
Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO of Bulgari
Like a breath of fresh air in the Lombardian economic capital, heavily hit by the pandemic, Bulgari CEO Jean-Christophe Babin chose Milan to present his latest high jewelry collection Magnifica to the international press. Splendid and powerful were the main words chosen by the brand to mark a great milestone in the very muffled world of ultraluxury. The first significant physical event organized after more than a year took place at the Scala Milano, entirely privatized for the occasion and hosting the launch of the festivities by the Roman jeweler. Clients from Europe and the Middle East were present during the day to closely and discreetly admire the 120 pieces of the collection, totaling several hundreds of carats for some. Indeed, this is the main surprise of the Magnifica collection. Never before in the history of the Maison were so many precious stones assembled together, with so many carats.
Magnifica became the main subject of a show filmed in one of the most emblematic places in Milan, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Watch the replay here (Director Tommaso Ottomano)
Always create further value
“This Magnifica collection is first and foremost a celebration of what nature has created” explains Jean-Christophe Babin as a prelude. But soon, the expression of the Roman house’s ambitions surpassed the aesthetical framework and turned to the heritage value of the high jewelry pieces presented on June 3rd. The CEO of the jewelry brand belonging to the luxury group LVMH continues: “Yes, the idea is to elevate further the investment value of our pieces, thanks to our high-end savoir-faire. And it is true that for three years, we have been increasing our purchases of precious stones, because we are convinced that there is a clientele for these products.” A value that is also found in the cost of some jewelry pieces, considering more than 30% of the collection is worth beyond one million euros. Indeed, the famous 131-cart spinel, exceptional by its size, color and quality, set on a diamond and emerald necklace is worth alone 16 million euros.
Our clients really needed rebirth, beauty, sharing and buying beautiful things, they especially needed to rekindle the will to wear them.
ucia Silvestri, artistic director of Bulgari jewelry
“The price is determined according to the cost of the stones and the hours of work, multiplied by a quotient. Evidently, before launching a 16-million-euro necklace, we have to think about the four or five clients that would be interested in buying it. But when we look at the stock market, we know there is potentially a lot of money. And when someone is lucky enough to have money to invest, often, they don’t just buy virtual money. They also like to invest in something beautiful and lasting that will keep its value. That’s the reason why art is constantly growing, as art is beauty every day, be it in a necklace or a painting. High jewelry benefits today of the great increase of liquidity and wealth, which paradoxically with Covid has been very significant, but completely unequal.”
Seduce great western fortunes
But who are these clients that can afford to buy beauty today? On this topic, Jean-Christophe Babin is clear: “Jewelry and watchmaking are more accessible to the whole of the worldwide middle class, with a stronger growth in Asia than in the Western world, due to demographic and economic evolutions. To the contrary, high jewelry, considering its price range, is linked to the breakdown of billionaires around the world, which have rather remained in the West. Proof of that are the great fortunes that have increased during Covid, and which were linked to digital and luxury, so first and foremost European and American.”
The supplier networks
In order to create the extraordinary, exceptional stones must first be purchased. The talent is to attract suppliers and convince them to sell. This asset has clearly been in the hands of Lucia Silvestri, artistic director of Bulgari jewelry and responsible of precious stone purchasing.
She explains: “I usually spend my life around the world, looking for the most beautiful stones, in mines, on markets, in India and elsewhere. Evidently the pandemic has completely slowed us down but has not prevented us to find exceptional gems. The story of the 131-carat spinel is incredible. A great precious stone collector contacted me three years ago. I didn’t know him personally, but he was an admirer of Bulgari’s creativity. Not willing to sell his stones, most of which were not set, he still wanted to see this spinel on a necklace by our house. When he talked to me and described the stone, I first thought he was bluffing, as often when stones are very big, they are not extraordinary in color nor quality. I expressed my interest, while wanting to see the stone. He then sent me a short video via email. I was starstruck. It was so beautiful and perfect. The color and size were exceptional. It was a great thrill to create the necklace.”
As to whether the great fortunes present in Milano were receptive to the aesthetic and heritage attributes of the Magnifica collection, it surpassed the house’s expectations, according to Lucia Silvestri: “Our clients really needed rebirth, beauty, sharing and buying beautiful things, they especially needed to rekindle the will to wear them.”
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LVMH’s Watch Week went digital this year and unveiled watch collections with big price tags and strong identities. This has become an indispensable anchor in the face of a pandemic that continues to defy all predictions.
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