2023 is a special year as it marks the 20th anniversary of Creative Director Vincenzo Castaldo at Pomellato. To honour both the company and Milan, that since 1967 has been a continuous source of inspiration, Castaldo and the Pomellato high jewellery atelier created ‘Ode to Milan’. This high jewellery collection celebrates the city’s eclectic history and its intriguing cache of hidden treasures in 33 boldly modern yet timeless designs. With the wellspring of inspiration coming from the design capital of Milan, Pomellato has unconventionally chosen to launch the jewels in Paris, the capital of haute joaillerie. Pomellato hopes that by putting Milanese design at the heart of Parisian haute joaillerie, dialogues on different visions of high jewellery will flourish.
Sabina Belli, CEO of Pomellato says: “We are very proud to present our most precious high jewellery collection ever in Paris, the capital of high jewellery, where we will share our unique vision. Pomellato is different as all of our designs are made to be worn everyday. We have always put women at the centre of the creation process, offering modern pieces of great quality and beauty that are easy to wear. 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 jewellery should accompany women on all occasions, in line with the emancipated and contemporary character of the Pomellato woman.”
A conversation with Milan
The constantly evolving cityscape of Milan, where a deep respect for manufacturing excellence rubs shoulders with design innovation, has made its mark on Pomellato. Whether it is the functional designs of mid-century Modernists such as Gio Ponti and Piero Fornasetti or the splendour of its historic architectural masterpieces, Pomellato thrives on the energy of Milan’s unique style.
‘Pomellato was born in Milan in 1967,’ recalls Vincenzo Castaldo, Creative Director of the house. ‘And it is here that we continue to create and manufacture our jewels. Our artisanal savoir-faire is Milanese, the emphasis we place on design and ergonomics is Milanese as is our search for excellence in each and every technique that we employ. We grew up in this city and Milan is an integral part of Pomellato. In 2023, it seemed quite natural for us to devote a high jewellery collection to Milan expressed in a very Pomellato way. The result is a private conversation between Milan and Pomellato, revealing the common traits between the two. This collection has a personal significance for me. On the occasion of my 20th anniversary at Pomellato, I wanted to honour both Pomellato and the city that it is inextricably connected to, both of which are home to me’.
The collection is much more than a figurative interpretation of the classic symbols of Milan, the ancient fiefdom of the powerful Visconti dynasty. ‘Ode to Milan’ is a dialogue that reflects the pulse of the city and reveals its most intimate workings. ‘We wanted to celebrate Milan, to unveil the mystery of its captivating personality. Our collection shakes up the codes of traditional high jewellery with contemporary yet elegant designs’, continues Castaldo.
The soul of the collection
‘Ode to Milan’ is divided into different chapters. Like a diamond, Pomellato has chosen four facets of the city to reflect a different side of the enigmatic state capital of Lombardy. The jewels are inspired by a wide range of themes from the urban drama of skyscrapers to the power of mediaeval architecture, to the creativity of La Scala and the majesty of the Duomo. The names of the jewels were chosen to evoke each of these scenes.
Vertical Landscapes celebrates the city’s high rises and their creators arresting use of form and colour. This modern side of Milan is brilliantly captured in jewels with strong architectural silhouettes, set with exquisite gems that reveal the depth of Pomellato’s passion for colours.
Contemporary Heritage brings to necklaces, rings and earrings the strength of the imposing carved stone façade of Milan’s Castello Sforzesco. The history of Milan and its ancient fortifications is interpreted in the gold work of these memorable jewels.
Creativity on Stage is born from Pomellato’s history of chain-making, each jewel a metaphor for the fertile creativity that abounds on the stage of La Scala theatre and via Montenapoleone.
Terrazza Duomo distils the key shapes found in the façade of the gothic Duomo cathedral and turns them into thoroughly contemporary sculptural earrings, a choker and two bracelets in white or rose gold with white diamonds.
Vertical Landscapes. This chapter embraces the unconventional beauty of Milan’s 21st century architectural styles and the Rationalist skyscrapers such as the groundbreaking Torre Velasca and the colourful facades of Gio Ponti’s buildings. The linear frame of the Skyline necklace brings together an impressive selection of 128 glorious and rare spinels. Like a Milanese sunset framed by vertical high-rises, an extraordinary stream of colour drapes along the neck. The luminous bezel-set, cushion-cut spinels range from the classic red colour to the lesser-known hues of warm scarlet, dusky pink, light mauve, sky blue and smoky grey. The feel of the necklace is soft and sensual thanks to its perfectly 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 feature 12 spinels that gently fade from glowing red to light purple. The refined colour composition of Skyline is a reflection of the sophistication of Milan.
A cascade of 52 magnetic green tourmalines combined with six violet-blue tanzanites make up the dazzling Giardini Verticali earrings. Each emerald-cut stone is reverse-set in green titanium to create a spectacular mosaic of movement, colour and texture, reminiscent of Gió Ponti’s building with its façade of glazed, green tiles. Three magnificent emerald-cut indicolites also star in the Princess-style necklace composed of outsized rose gold links set with diamonds. The distinctive petrol-green shade of the indicolites echoes the velvet often seen in Milan’s most elegant interiors.
Urban Bloom evokes the lush gardens that unexpectedly flourish in the city’s high-rise balconies or secret gardens. Three mesh bracelets in yellow, white or rose gold with diamonds are dotted with green tsavorites, blue sapphires or pink and violet sapphires. A matching choker with pink and violet sapphires caresses the neck.
This journey through Milan’s contemporary urban landscape, gives a new look to the iconic Nudo. The Nudo Triennale offers four up-to-date versions of the toi et moi ring, each featuring a precious gemstone and diamonds. The rich colours of aquamarine, rubellite and green tourmaline on one side of the ring are lit up by a pavé of white diamonds on the other side. The queen of the quartet is a combination of a 3-carat Princess-cut diamond and a vivid purple-blue tanzanite. If the city were to be defined by one colour, it would be the low-key grey tone known as ‘Milanese grey’ seen in the flannel of men’s suits and the fog that descends on the plains. The Nudo Cascade is an ode to this most Milanese of tones with a shower of monochrome smoky grey hourglass-cut moonstones suspended on gold and titanium chains from a choker composed of jumbo-sized diamond-set links. A matching pair of earrings is full of movement featuring slender white gold and titanium chains tipped in grey moonstones. The shape of the moonstones is echoed in diamond paved gold squares that sit on the lobe.
Contemporary Heritage is Pomellato’s idiosyncratic interpretation of the history of Milan and in particular the mediaeval Castello Sforzesco. A 1972 choker from the archives provided the creative spark behind the nine jewels that are a bridge between Pomellato’s design tradition and the city’s most commanding monument. The design team re-interpreted the original choker to create the Castello necklace that has a neo-mediaeval look. It is made up 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 totalling more than 29 carats. By setting the gems in this unconventional way, their sharp angles are reminiscent of the rusticated stone masonry of the façade of the Castello, creating a new type of pavé that Pomellato has named ‘bossage’. This architectural technique of using stones with clearly defined edges and a raised central area gives a feeling of power and invincibility. A removable rose gold and diamond-set chain adds a further historic touch. Two pairs of earrings accompany this impressive necklace, graced with either a reverse-set tanzanite or rubellite and surrounded by diamonds. The same saturated tones and imposing reverse-set shapes are carried through in two rings. One features an oval faceted of nearly 19-carat rhodolite garnet and the other of more than 16-carat ‘sugarloaf diamond-cut’ tanzanite. The contoured gold bezels are dusted with an irregular white diamond pavé.
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. Seven luminous green reverse-set malachites resemble the studs on the doors of the ancient fort. The vibrant swirling green of the malachite, along with the emeralds set into the links, create a striking contrast to the dark ceramic. 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 chapter is completed with the stunning Dama rose gold bracelets, one for either wrist. The sensual form of the solid curve of rounded gold is based on a super-sized version of the Gourmette link. A double line of white diamonds runs along the edge of the seamless sweep of gold of these sumptuous bracelets.
Creativity on Stage. Chains have been at the heart of Pomellato’s history and intrinsically linked to the house’s tradition of goldsmithing. As past masters of this genre skill, Pomellato dares to push the boundaries with three luxurious necklaces that pay homage to the creativity of La Scala theatre. Each one is composed of chains in re-imagined proportions and shimmering with diamonds that are assembled using new variations of setting techniques. The result is an irreverent and ironic take on this jewellery staple. The show-stopping Lirica necklace is composed of swathes of links of varying sizes that fall like the swags of the curtains at La Scala. The larger link is set with diamonds in different cuts and arranged in a seemingly haphazard pattern in this large asymmetrical necklace.
Even more theatrical is the Sipario body chain necklace that captures the magic and awe of the theatre. Various styles of chains and diamond-set links drape down and around torso that dress the body in a mesmerising web. The large central link is set with a random pattern of sizeable brilliant and fancy-cut diamonds.
Utterly chic in its minimalism, the Catena Milano rose-gold rope mesh chain marries the simplicity of Milan’s industrial design heritage with the glamour of Pomellato. The spacers on the lariat-style necklace allow the clasp to move up or down its length for multi-wear options and features different types of diamond-setting technique, showcasing Pomellato’s virtuosity in both chain making and gem-setting. The diamond-set elements at the end of the chain capture the functionality of hardware as the parts swivel with pleasing ease. The contrast of the feminine soft and sinuous gold rope with the masculine strength of the clasp, give this necklace an arresting and modern air.
Terrazza Duomo is testament to Milan’s design prowess. The ornate white marble façade of the Duomo is deconstructed to offer key geometrical shapes that form the basis for four elegantly simple earrings and two bracelets. The extrapolation of this masterpiece of 14th century Gothic architecture to essential forms highlights the intellectual rigour at the heart of Pomellato’s design ethos born of a deep appreciation of the timeless nature of design.
The Losange, Marquise, Drop and Trilliant earrings are light, airy, mobile sculptures in white or rose gold swathed in white diamonds that gently sway with each move of the body and can be worn solo or as a pair. The symmetry of the geometrical composition contrasts with the clusters of diamonds that sit on the lobe.
The Terrazza Duomo bracelets continue the theme of abstraction and the same geometrical shapes are repeated in a plain gold frame from which rises a second tier of white diamond pavé elements. The final piece in this exquisite collection is a rose gold choker, stark in its simplicity. Carefully engineered to lie perfectly flush on the skin, its only adornment is an irregularly placed arrangement of fancy diamonds in a ‘charivari’ pattern pavé.
‘Ode to Milan’ unites Pomellato’s unique approach to high jewellery with the highest standards of craftsmanship. Like this remarkable city, Pomellato respects the past but keeps a keen eye on the future, an attitude that sets this audacious collection apart.