It isn’t surprising that one of the most renowned jewellery houses of the world would open a magnifico boutique in India, among the largest consumers of gold. Our country’s love for the dazzle lures in the famed Italian jewellery house, Bvlgari, which launched its showroom at Delhi’s DLF Emporio this week.
Bvlgari (pronounced “bull-gerry” and spelt with a “v” instead of a “u” in keeping with its Latin roots) is a contemporary Italian jeweller, though it opened in 1884. Sotirio Bvlgari opened his first enterprise at Rome’s historic and snobby Via Condotti. It was among the first luxury stores to open at this former bank street making it one of poshest shopping addresses in the world. In its 130th year, the Via Condotti store has seen a relaunch.
There are several stylish stores at DLF Emporio, a little gem palace itself, each one dressed as a pretty maid neatly in a row. But its newest entrant does have its own charm. It brings to your door a little bit of its Condotti heritage. It takes you back to its modern Greco-Roman heritage with an oak parqet floor married with an Italian marble mosaic and gold Veneziana, a technique of inserting semi-precious stones in a resin or concrete surface. This was the favourite of Roman and Venetian constructions in the 16th century. The Condotti eight-point star is a symbol of balance in the cosmic order, it’s also a sign that all roads lead to Rome.
The jaw-dropping chandelier above is a Murano, but of course. It has 5,500 pieces of crystal originally conceived by designer Angelo Mangiarotti. It is assembled by hand to allow a cascade of light in.
On the walls is the biggest celebrity endorsement one can hope for — Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor and the magnificent emerald and diamond ring he popped the question to her with. It is such a romantic moment you want to go home and pop in a DVD of Cleopatra. Not before browsing through the brightly coloured delectables on display.
In the city to raise a toast to his new offering is Jean-Cristophe Babin, the newly-appointed CEO at Bvlgari. “India is such an exciting country for us with its penchant for jewellery,” he says, flanked by Nayanika Chatterji, Carol Gracias and Laxmi Rana. The supermodels are wearing Bvlgari baubles, their famous Serpent motif and other precious items from their high jewellery line. Each is dressed in light couture pieces from Anamika Khanna, as if to show how well modern motifs can work with Indian wear. “Most Indians have their local jewellers. Since everyone is well-travelled and with international tastes now, we hope they will choose a global brand for their jewels too,” adds Babin. The store also offers private rooms for clients seeking to shop with discretion. A smaller section displays their classy accessories — handbags, bracelets, perfumes and beautiful sunglasses.
A walk through the store is like being in a museum for precious gemstones and contemporary design. And even if the Parentisi necklaces are a bit out of your budget, a new pair of sunnies is always a welcome addition.