How Roberto Coin Developed His Hidden Ruby Signature

On four decades’ worth of golden years

When you think of gold, you think of Italy. And when you think of Italian gold, you think of Roberto Coin, who has built not only his business but also his reputation on working in 18k. The best thing about designing with gold, says Coin, is “the awareness that you are working with a natural precious material and you have to find a way to give it a soul and to express with it a message.” During market week in Las Vegas, he’ll debut “a huge amount of new creations,” he promises, “mostly focused on total gold collections like Florentine and Moi Pois and limited edition or Unique Pieces collections.” All will undoubtedly contain the Coin signature—a single ruby hidden somewhere within. Explains the designer: “I thought it was the most romantic way to wish the best to all people wearing my pieces.”

Roberto Coin’s limited-edition Siberian Tiger ring

Age: Young

Number of years in the biz: 35

Number of employees you oversee: Approximately 325, plus more or less another 250 external collaborators

Family and pets: Three brothers; three children; my wife, Pilar; two cats and two dogs

Describe your personal style: I continuously change my style—changing is a kind of art for me.

Appassionata nine-row bracelet

First piece you ever designed: I don’t remember the first jewel I designed but I perfectly remember, as if it was yesterday, the day I reached perfection in ­Appassionata design, after two years of passion and perseverance, which gave life to this fundamental ­collection of my brand history.

The single piece of jewelry you’re most proud of: Always the next one I am going to create…

Best piece of advice you ever received: “Be yourself.”

Worst piece of advice: “Listen to me, this is how it has to be done…the only way.”

First job ever: Waiter at Schweizerhof hotel in St. Moritz

How did you get started designing jewelry? I fell in love with creativity and chose jewelry as supreme expression of femininity, beauty, and glamour.

If you weren’t designing jewelry, what would you be doing? Who knows?! I’d like to do so many things, like interior designing, fashion, banking…

How did the ruby become your signature? I was reading a historic book and an old Egyptian legend took my attention. It talked about ancient pharaohs ­considering the ruby as a magic stone, able to provide health, happiness, and long life to those who kept it in contact with their skin.

Jewelry you’re wearing right now: My watch, my wedding band

Five items on your desk right now: Design pens, 200 different jewel photos and sketches, three ­contracts, my cigarettes, and a calculator

Five songs on your playlist: “Con te partirò,” Andrea Bocelli; “C’era una volta in America,” Ennio Morricone; “My Way,” Frank Sinatra; “My Heart Will Go On,” Celine Dion; “Feeling Good,” Nina Simone

Cuffs from the Florentine collection

Many of your collections are built around animals—what is it about the animal kingdom that inspires you so much? Nature is one of the greatest sources of inspiration together with life and love. I feel respect and fascination for the animal world.

Exercise regimen: Walking, swimming

What did you have for breakfast? Yogurt and coffee

Guilty pleasures: Good food in general and smoking

Drink (daytime/evening): Water and a glass of ­Amarone wine during dinner

First website you check every day (not your own!):, the Financial Times website for news

How do you unwind? Gardening…and dreaming

Superstitious? No

Book you’re reading: The Short 20th Century, Eric Hobsbawm

Book you’ve been meaning to get to: El Mercader (The Merchant), Coia Valls

Harrison Ford

Preferred news source: BBC and all international websites and channels

Main means of transportation: Car

Favorite movie: Recently I had the chance to watch again a film that I love: Ben Hur, William Wyler

Who would play you in your life story? Harrison Ford

Personal motto: “The future belongs to those people still able to believe in the beauty of their own dreams.”