Venice’s famous gondola boats are handmade using 280 distinct parts and eight different types of wood.
Capturing the complexity (and rich history) of the iconic boats within a piece of jewelry was the impetus behind the creation of these incredible earrings by Italian fine jewelry designer Alessio Boschi.
Equally inspiring to the designer was Venice’s Rialto Bridge—the oldest of four bridges that span Venice’s Grand Canal, where gondolas crisscross the city.
“Both have become the symbol of Venice, and of the romantic allure connected with it,” says Boschi, adding, “Every detail of the gondola has its own meaning and symbolism.”
In the design, those details are reproduced in carved rose gold and diamonds. The traditional black wood used by law to color gondolas was approximated with million-year-old fossilized palm wood purchased from an Italian supplier and hand-carved and molded in Boschi’s workshop.
“When someone examines the black part of the boat by the loop, he can still see the veins of the fossilized wood, which resemble the natural material utilized for the gondolas,” the designer says. “We wanted the material to be as close as possible to the real thing.”
The little white gold gondolier seems to sing loudly while rowing the boat on an imaginary canal, suspended from the earlobe by a double chain decorated with tiny Colombian emerald beads.
The gondolier stands on the curve of a tanzanite—which perfectly matches the one used in the bridge earring.
That earring, which is topped with a brilliant marquise-cut tanzanite, features baguette- and round-cut diamonds inset into a white gold Rialto Bridge in miniature—its arches glittering with Colombian emeralds.
Dripping elegantly from both earrings are rare baby blue Akoya pearls, “to represent the water dripping from the motifs,” says Boschi.
The earring’s components were culled from around the world: the Colombian emeralds were purchased in Hong Kong; the fossilized wood came from Indonesia; the Tanzanites were purchased from an Indian supplier and recut in Thailand to match perfectly.
But the final assembly of the earrings was done in Boschi’s Armenian manufacturing facilities in Bangkok. “Our operation,” he says, “is truly international.”