Petrol-green indicolites that echo elegant, velvety elegant interiors; smokey moonstones that reflect Milanese grey; green tsavorites and coloured sapphires to evoke the secret lush gardens in the city’s high-rise balconies. These are just a few of the striking details from Ode to Milan, the 2023 high jewellery collection from Pomellato that pays homage to the treasures of the world’s design capital.
The collection, made up of 33 designs, also marks creative director Vincenzo Castaldo’s 20th anniversary at the jewellery brand. “I wanted to honour both Pomellato and the city that it is inextricably connected to,” said Castaldo of the occasion.
Castaldo presented the collection in four chapters, each reflecting a different facet of Lombardy’s enigmatic state capital. The designs draw from Italian architecture, from urban skyscrapers and secret gardens to mediaeval and classical buildings like the La Scala theatre and the Duomo cathedral.
Vertical Landscapes, the first chapter, honours the beauty of Milan’s modern skyscrapers and the colourful facades of mid-century architect Gió Ponti’s famous buildings. The asymmetrical Skyline necklace, for instance, celebrates high-rise architecture with over 128 cushion-cut spinels and diamonds set in rose gold. The luminous bezel-set spinels run the gamut of colours from classic red to lesser-known hues like dusky pink, light mauve, sky blue and smoky grey. Its handcrafted linear structure brings a stream of colour that evoke the reflection of sunsets reflected off a skyscraper. It’s matched with a pair of earrings, set with six spinels on each side, that gently fade from glowing red to light purple.
Equally captivating are the Giardini Verticali earrings, featuring a cascade of 52 green tourmalines, matched with six violet-blue tanzanites and petrol-green indicolites. Inspired by Gío Ponti’s Vertical Forest residential complex in Porta Nuova, with plant-filled balconies, the gems on these earrings are reverse-set on green titanium to emphasise its verdant quality.
The Contemporary Heritage suite shines a spotlight on the Castello Sforzesco, the city’s most commanding mediaeval stone fortress. The carved stone work is interpreted in the form of gold chains—one of Pomellato’s signatures. The Castello necklace, for example, reimagines an archival Pomellato choker from 1972 with a touch of 15th-century fortification. Rose gold plaques are joined by chunky diamond- and rubellite-set gourmette chain links, the central choker complemented with the brand’s signature oval Rabolini chains. The unconventional angled setting of these gems is reminiscent of stone masonry, and makes use of a new style of pavé that Pomellato dubs ‘bossage’.
A darker take on this plaque-and-chain design comes in the form of a Fortezza choker, in which the plaques are lined with black ceramic, and reverse-set with seven malachites that echo the studs on the doors of the Sforzesco fortress. The chapter concludes on a more classic note with the supersized, rose gold Dama bracelets featuring a double line of 218 white diamonds.
With a third chapter aptly titled Creativity on Stage, Castaldo not only pays homage to the grand La Scala theatre, but the Milanese tradition of chain-making and goldsmithing. It salutes La Scale through a trio of chain necklaces: the Lirica, Spiral and Catena Milano. These diamond-set creations are assembled using a variety of setting techniques, giving a refreshed look and feel to the chain jewellery staple. For example, the asymmetrical Sipario necklace boasts swathes of links of varying sizes to mimic the drape of La Scala’s velvet curtains.
The final chapter, Terraza Duomo, is a testament to Milan’s feats of abstract, geometrical design. At its heart is a nod to the roof of the famous Duomo cathedral. This section consists of four earrings, two bracelets and a choker. These are crafted in a starkly simple and airy style, in the symmetrical shapes of gem cuts like trilliants, ovals, pears and rounds. All of these shapes also feature as actual diamonds, pavé set into the sculptural forms with larger stones dotting the designs for emphasis.
This Milanese style is at the core of everything Pomellato does. And for Castaldo, this collection cements his respect and undying love for the city at a significant milestone of his career. “Our savoir-faire is Milanese, the emphasis we place on design and ergonomics is Milanese,” shares Castaldo in press notes. “It seemed quite natural for us to devote a high jewellery collection to Milan expressed in a very Pomellato way.”