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Gucci’s Hortus Deliciarum Collection Celebrates Culture and Decadence

Model poses in a pool wearing Gucci's new Hortus Deliciarum collection

In 2019 Gucci dropped their first high-jewellery collection, Hortus Deliciarum (meaning Garden of Delights), named after the infamous 12th-century manuscript. Now in 2022, the brand is dropping its third iteration of the gleaming collection with a myriad of inspirations from Enlightenment to modernity. 

Creative Director Alessandro Michele’s jewellery collection consists of maximalist necklaces, bracelets, and earrings divided into five chapters serving as an allegory of dreams, experiences, and stories. Meant to evoke the worldly “grand tour” of jewellery from the mid-19th century up until the seventies. Michele worked with micro mosaics between 1850 and 1870 to reference the actual 19th-century grand tour right of passage for young European men of means. 

Actress Jessica Chastain poses in Gucci's new Hortus Deliciarum collectionMerging diverse cultures and rarities, the collection brings together the past and the present of the Gucci canon with Italian craftsmanship woven through strands of colourful topaz, emerald, aquamarine, rubellite, spinel, morganite, and amethyst. Certified by the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), Gucci’s sourcing of gold, platinum, and diamonds in this dazzling collection promotes ethical and responsible social and environmental practices. In line with its commitment to finding innovative solutions to responsibly trace where it acquires gold, Gucci parent company Kering’s gold fund has contributed to reforestation efforts in the Amazon and is dedicated to the empowerment of women who live near gold mines in Ghana. 

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Rome serves as the collection’s starting point and inspires its miniatures depicting Roman landscapes. Known for his storytelling, Michele’s collection evokes the curious world traveller. These “souvenirs in the form of jewellery” contain memories influenced by mythical continents and fantastical themes.

Hortus Deliciarum high jewellery Gucci necklaceThe second theme of kaleidoscopic beauty informs the collection’s inspirations from the west to as far as Maharajah India. Inspired by royal palaces and lush gardens, the theme introduces you to the “red stones of light,” also known as rubellite, imperial topaz, yellow beryl, tourmaline and garnet. Pear and heart cut stones, woven strands of gold, diamonds and enamel, the collection shapes evoke the rosettes of European cathedrals.

Known as one of the most magical gifts that Caesar gave to Cleopatra, the pearl symbolises the collection’s third theme and influence from Greek mythology. A symbol of femininity and mystique, the collection’s white, green, and black pearls represent the intersection of Australia, Polynesia, and Indonesia combining eastern and western traditions. The pearls are combined to create sautoirs for earrings and brooches. 

Actress Jessica Chastain poses in Gucci's new Hortus Deliciarum collectionThe fourth theme evokes the new world’s modernism of the 30s and 40s, complete with geometric shapes in asymmetrical, flexible modules with meticulous detail and grandiose dramatic baguette-cut diamonds. 

The theme finale of Hortus Deliciarum wraps with the 1970s; pop culture, individualism, free expression, and a curious attitude to remote, mystical worlds. The pieces from this theme are meant to protect ideas, visions, and stories. Psychedelic colours for necklaces of white gold chains, diamonds holding real talismans in hexagonal emerald and aquamarine set in green enamel. The yellow-gold pendant inspired by the 1969 ‘Savana’ foulard Vittorio Accornero De Testa designed for Gucci connects the journey where Michele’s allegory began; the magnetic enchantment of a world you can wear.

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