Step into the past

Four years after his appointment as Gucci’s creative director in 2015, Alessandro Michele envisioned high jewelry illuminating the garden of delights.

Tanzanites mingle with diamonds on a white gold lionhead necklace and earrings worn by Anne Thongprasom.

After two collections, Michele goes back in time for the third act of Hortus Deliciarum, recently presented in Bangkok against the magnificent backdrop of the Sri Sutthaniwart Throne Hall at Phyathai Palace.

Based on five themes, the Hortus Deliciarum collection unfolds like a travel diary, with the “souvenirs” appearing as jewelry and the fantastic journey leaving a “memory of memories”.

The creative director chronicles his imaginative odyssey in The Grand Tour, beginning in the mid-19th century and ending in the 1970s.

He was indeed born during that tumultuous decade in Rome, whose historic landmarks appear on framed micromosaics that characterize the high adornment under the first subject.

The unique micro-mosaic pieces, made between 1850 and 1870, give this collection its preciousness by depicting the Colosseum, Piazza San Pietro and the Pantheon as it was in the 19th century. In addition, the cameos show the Roman Forum, the Temple of Vesta, the Temple of Hercules in Cori, waterfalls in Tivoli and the Pyramid of Cestius.

Michele embeds them in necklaces, bracelets, earrings, brooches, gold pendants with sparkling peridots, yellow beryl, red and pink spinel, blue topaz, fire opal, pink tourmaline and multicolored diamonds.

After Italy, the second subject lands in India, known for iconic gemstones and magnificent jewelry worn by the Maharajas. For example, Gucci’s unique pieces are adorned with rubellite, imperial topaz, yellow beryl and tourmaline.

Pear- or heart-cut stones adorn solitaire rings; Stones of different colors sparkle on multi-strand chains; while woven strands of gold, diamonds and enamel are combined in bracelets.

The third theme revolves around pearls which, according to Greek myth, were born from the foam of the sea and solidified on Aphrodite’s skin.

Rich in places like Indonesia, Polynesia and Australia, this symbolism of femininity takes the traveler to the point where East and West meet, with countless historical references like Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and portraits of Elizabeth I wearing pearl jewelry.

Michele combines white, cream and black pearls with imperial topaz to create sautoirs, paired with earrings and brooches. Detachable pendants are also set with imperial topaz or alternating multicolored tourmalines and diamonds.

The fourth stop takes you back to the New World in the 1930s and 1940s, when skyscrapers soared into the sky. The change of pace is exemplified by necklaces and bracelets designed with geometric forms in chains of asymmetrical, flexible modules, the meticulous structural details of which are dramatically corrupted by grandiose stones.

Flexible chains adorn cushion-cut amethyst, aquamarine and blue-grey beryl, which also embellish earrings or central pendants in cages of baguette-cut diamonds.

The travelogue finally reaches the 1970s – a decade of pop culture, free self-expression and the desire to discover foreign countries.

Necklaces in white gold feature psychedelic hues, with talismans of hexagonal emerald, pear-shaped green tourmaline and aquamarine set in a green enamel frame embracing baguette-cut diamonds.

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A yellow gold base pendant evokes a scene in the savannah, engraved and enamelled. The design comes from a 1980s pendant inspired by the Savana foulard that Vittorio Accornero De Testa designed for Gucci in 1969.

The unique pieces from the Hortus Deliciarum collection are sustainably made from gold and are certified according to the Responsible Jewelery Council’s Chain of Custody scheme, which makes it possible to identify their origin and ensure ethical sourcing.

Tanzanites, rubellites, garnets and diamonds as well as enamel adorn the kaleidoscope necklace.

1970s white gold Heart of Asia necklace with the hexagonal emerald as a talisman. Gucci

Roma lion head earrings and Roma necklace micromosaic depict Temple of Hercules.

Roma lion head earrings and Roma necklace with micro-mosaic depicting the Temple of Hercules.

The Piazza San Pietro is captured in a carefully crafted micro-mosaic.

Solitaire ring centered by a rare rubellite. Gucci


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