Giorgio Bulgari, creative director for Italian fine jewelry atelier Marina B, has always felt a deep affinity for the sea. “I’ve been fishing since I was 5 years old, and now I fish in Sardinia with my own kids,” says Giorgio, the nephew of house founder Marina Bulgari (the granddaughter of Bulgari founder Sotirio Bulgari). So when the designer decided to create a bespoke minaudière, he looked to the compact, symmetrical proportions of the sea urchin. “They have that pentagonal shape that I’ve always loved,” he explains. Giorgio was also set on using a high-contrast color palette for the piece, which features an oxidized aluminum body set with moonstones cut into Marina B’s signature teardrop shape—accented by a smattering of dazzling little diamonds.
“If you include me, there were 16 people who worked on it,” says Giorgio of the five-month-long fabrication process in Italy. There was a technician charged exclusively with achieving the patina, and another “who only worked on all the joints and screws and everything that’s articulated.”
It’s in the Bag
The oceanic minaudière was created using oxidized to dark gray aluminum, approximately 200 grams of pink gold, 177.5 cts. t.w. moonstones, and 8.18 cts. t.w. diamonds. Press the moonstone clasp once to open the bag a few millimeters, and twice to spring it wide open.
Giorgio calls aluminum, which has been creeping back into haute joaillerie in recent years, “noble, and a material I love personally.” It’s also delightfully lightweight, he adds. “If I had done this in all gold, it would have been way too heavy.” The entire minaudière—designed to fit a woman’s nightlife essentials, Giorgio says, “including an iPhone 6”—is lined in blue and gray shantung silk.
The aluminum’s dark, rich gray shade, which was inspired by basalt stones in Rome, was achieved through a proprietary oxidation process. Giorgio chose the hue, in part, “to pay a bit of tribute to Marina Bulgari; she was one of the first to blacken gold, which at the time was somewhat shocking.”