Pomellato’s High Jewelry Is Ode to Milan

MILAN — Vincenzo Castaldo’s 20th anniversary at Pomellato this year dovetailed with his desire to pay tribute to the city of Milan, where the jewelry brand was founded in 1967.

This celebration led to Pomellato’s fourth high jewelry collection, aptly called “Ode to Milan,” a sort of love letter to the city, which has long been and continues to be a source of inspiration, reinforcing the link with the brand.

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It resulted in a strong collection for Castaldo, who was named creative director in 2015 and who experimented with new gems and cuts through 33 bold designs.

“The collection crystalizes Pomellato’s connection with Milan, expressing our pride that Milan is a fundamental part of our identity. It may be hyperbole, but I would go as far as saying that if Milan did not exist, Pomellato would not exist either,” the designer said in an interview at the brand’s headquarters in the city, where the jewels are made, ahead of the official unveiling during couture week in Paris.

“Milan has become a point of reference and a destination. I have seen the city change and transform over the years, creating its own identity, and the collection has the precise intent of celebrating Milan,” he explained.

Sabina Belli, chief executive officer of Pomellato, underscored that the brand’s designs “are made to be worn every day” and that this collection “is no exception. Even the most precious pieces are designed to be worn casually and not just for special events. We believe that jewelry should accompany women on all occasions, in line with the emancipated and contemporary character of the Pomellato woman.”

Castaldo’s mood board displayed photos of Gio Ponti buildings, details from Piero Fornasetti’s ceramics, images of the Duomo cathedral, the Castello Sforzesco and the city’s ever-changing skyline — all key influences. However, the designer underscored that he stayed away from a figurative interpretation of the classic symbols of Milan for the collection, which is divided into four chapters.

Vertical Landscapes celebrates the city’s 21st century architecture and the Rationalist skyscrapers such as the Torre Velasca and Stefano Boeri’s Vertical Forest, captured in jewels with strong architectural silhouettes.

The linear frame of the Skyline necklace includes a selection of 128 rare spinels, “reminiscent of a Milanese sunset framed by the high rises,” said Castaldo. The luminous bezel-set, cushion-cut spinels range from the classic red to hues of warm scarlet, dusky pink, light mauve, sky blue and smoky gray.

Castaldo noted that the necklace is soft and moves with the body thanks to its articulated structure and a back section of highly mobile gate-link chains. The asymmetric necklace ends with two rose gold bars set with a pavé of diamonds, echoing two similar elements that join the double rows of gemstones to the back-chain. A matching pair of earrings features 12 spinels that fade from bright red to light purple.

Pomellato’s Skyline necklace.

Pomellato’s Skyline necklace.

A cascade of 52 green tourmalines combined with six violet-blue tanzanites make up the dazzling Giardini Verticali earrings — a reference to the Vertical Forest buildings in the Porta Nuova district.  Each emerald-cut stone is reverse-set in green titanium to create a mosaic of movement, color and texture, also reminiscent of Gio Ponti’s building with its façade of glazed, green tiles.

The second chapter, Contemporary Heritage, brings to necklaces, rings and earrings the imposing carved stone façade of Milan’s medieval Castello Sforzesco.

Castaldo revisited an archival Pomellato choker from 1972 for the Castello necklace, made of rose gold plaques joined together by chunky diamond-set gourmette links and adorned with more than 28 carats of baguette, princess and brilliant-cut diamonds and five reverse-set rubellites totaling more than 29 carats. By setting the gems in this unconventional way, their sharp angles are reminiscent of the stone masonry of the façade of the castle, creating a new type of relief pavé that Pomellato has named bossage.

Two rings stand out — one with an oval faceted of nearly 19-carat rhodolite garnet and the other with an oval of more than 16-carat sugarloaf diamond-cut tanzanite. The contoured gold bezels are dusted with an irregular white diamond pavé.

Pomellato’s Castello ring with tanzanite.

Pomellato’s Castello ring with tanzanite.

The Fortezza choker and matching earrings are a variant of the Castello set. In this version, the gold plaques are lined with glossy black ceramic. In contrast, seven luminous green reverse-set malachites resemble the studs on the doors of the ancient fort and a line of irregular brown diamond pavé embellishes the edge of each plaque. The same brown diamond pavé surrounds the malachites contained in a matching pair of earrings.

The third chapter, Creativity on Stage, is born from Pomellato’s history of chain-making and the creativity of the La Scala theater, and Castaldo said he believes it has “a playful” attitude.

The proportions of the chains in three necklaces are re-imagined, and lit up by diamonds that are assembled using new variations of setting techniques. The Lirica necklace is composed of swathes of links of varying sizes. “The idea is to connect them to the curtain of La Scala,” said Castaldo.

Pomellato’s Lirica necklace.

Pomellato’s Lirica necklace.

The larger link is set with diamonds in different cuts and arranged in a seemingly haphazard pattern in this large asymmetric necklace.

Even more theatrical is the Sipario (curtain) body chain necklace with diamonds that drape down and around the torso in an intriguing web.

Castaldo admitted the fourth chapter, Terrazza Duomo, was the most challenging and daring, approaching with his designs the majestic Gothic cathedral. “I would never want to offer a gadget, a tourist souvenir,” he pointed out.

To avoid this, the designer distilled the key shapes of the ornate white marble façade of the Duomo, deconstructed to offer key geometrical and essential shapes turned into four elegantly simple earrings, a choker and two bracelets. “I love Gothic architecture,” he added.

The Losange, Marquise, Drop and Trilliant earrings are super light and mobile sculptures in white or rose gold swathed in white diamonds. The symmetry of the geometric composition contrasts with the clusters of diamonds that sit on the ear lobe.

Pomellato’s Terrazza Duomo earrings.

Pomellato’s Terrazza Duomo earrings.

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