The Masterpieces Collection from PICCHIOTTI celebrates the triumph of both Nature and Man, combining the most highly prized gifts of the Earth with the most precise and impeccable hand craftsmanship. Art and artistry are fused in a vital relationship that creates breathtaking beauty and incredible jewels. The Masterpiece Necklaces comprise an array of designs in each of the four precious gemstones – rubies, emeralds, sapphires and diamonds. Each necklace has its own story and its own character. According to renowned jewelry historian Vivienne Becker, “The distinctive gem architecture of the jewels, the crisp precision of their construction, their supreme comfort, the integration of design and technique, all rely on absolute perfection of craft performance – an unsurpassed excellence that is Giuseppe Picchiotti’s ultimate mission today just as it was over 50 years ago when he embarked on his own adventure.” Here, we take a closer look behind the scenes at a few of Giuseppe’s remarkable creations, revealing the unique narrative of each one-of-a-kind necklace and celebrating the sparkle of its singular statement style.
Ruby Masterpiece Necklaces
One of Giuseppe’s Favorite Gems
“The ruby is a treasure in a class by itself, second to none other!” says Giuseppe Picchiotti. His fondness for the glowing beauty of this deeply red gem has inspired an ongoing global search, a literal treasure hunt, for the world’s more spectacular specimens. Myanmar (formerly Burma) is home to some of the world’s greatest rubies. The famed “Pigeon’s Blood Ruby” often comes from there.
The “Thousand and One Nights” necklace is a Ruby Masterpiece of unparalleled elegance. These rare Vivid Red Pigeon’s Blood rubies were collected over the years through a meticulous search for such singular and intensely colored stones. Grouped into “layouts” (gatherings of similar color and quality of stones), these Burmese rubies began to form an opulent shape in the mind of designer Giuseppe Picchiotti. He chose to create a Masterpiece necklace to pay homage to the natural beauty of the stones themselves. He started with the idea of a diamond rivière necklace that could be accented by hanging motifs of diamonds and rubies. Choosing to combine heart-shaped and pear-shaped rubies from two layouts he had gathered over the decades, Giuseppe began to play with the idea of movement. Each single drop that hangs from the necklace alternates with one heart ruby or one pear ruby, except for the center where two beautiful shapes are combined to be appreciated together. Both pear and round diamonds also add context, form, and sparkle. The visual effect is undulating and feels like a wave of color washing over the viewer. Great attention was paid to balancing the stone shapes of both the rubies and the diamonds for maximum beauty. The flawless workmanship allows the hanging parts to sit perfectly equidistant on the neck of the fortunate woman who will wear it.
This incredible necklace Giuseppe created is a classical design that can be worn and appreciated from generation to generation. This particular quality, color, and crystal structure of ruby is becoming more and more scarce. There is practically no more extraction from the mines in Burma (now Myanmar) which is known the world-over as the top source for rubies. The intrinsic value of these Pigeon’s Blood rubies, therefore, can only rise, or at the very least, be maintained over time.
Another Masterpiece combination of diamonds and rubies is the “Ruby Cascade” necklace. This exceptional design won the “Oscars” of the fine jewelry design awards in 1998. The Couture Design Award in the Color Gemstone category was presented to Giuseppe Picchiotti for this stunning piece, following a lengthy judging process and stiff competition from renowned jewelry designers the world over. A fitting tribute to the master color gem collector and creator. Giuseppe has made color the focal point of his work for over five decades. The award-winning necklace is a literal cascade of “streams” of alternating baguette and round diamonds set in platinum that spill over the collarbone accented along the way with “drops” of deeply red cabochon rubies set in yellow gold. Together, the diamonds and rubies create a stunning “splash” in a very unique and world-class statement necklace.
Sapphire Masterpiece Necklaces
The Color of the Sky & Sea
Sapphires are another precious gemstone favorite, not only for the Picchiotti family but also for fans around the globe. Giuseppe claims the color of sapphires captured his heart from the very start of his career. “As the young apprentice of a master jeweler, when I was just a teenager, I found myself captivated by the magic of the profound blue color of the Sapphire. These treasured gems hold the vastness of the sky and the depth of the ocean in their beautiful deep blue hues. Designing with them is like making water wearable!”
The “Heart Waterfall” Masterpiece Sapphire Necklace is a remarkable blend of exceptional materials with great design and craftsmanship. Similar to the Ruby Masterpiece Necklace referenced above, two layouts are used in support of each other – one an exceptional grouping of 17 heart-shape sapphires and another a beautiful collection of 12 oval sapphires, all from Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon). Today, some of the highest quality sapphires in the world come from Sri Lanka.
Collecting a significant number of similar Sapphires that match in both quality and color is a rare feat. When Giuseppe is lucky enough to gather such a distinctive selection of stones, he works to create a sinuous design that gives justice to the graceful shapes and color of the gemstones. The design for this necklace came from the stones themselves, both their color and their shapes. The pointed base of the heart shape is like an arrow leading the eye, so when they are placed in succession, the gems begin to visually travel or flow like a waterfall. The thin diamond bar that connects the stones forms the collar of the necklace as the hearts literally “hug” the neckline with the cerulean hue of the skies and the oceans, the highest highs and the deepest depths. The cascading elements that sit prominently upon the decolletage alternate longer and shorter diamond bars, each ending with a magnificent heart sapphire. The real center of attention, though, is the charming flower that brings it all together. Five heart-shape sapphires surround a central oval sapphire to form the lovely “blossom” reminiscent of florals like cornflower, periwinkle, or hydrangea. The waterfall of sapphires below spray like petals on the wind in a charming, sophisticated, and unique style.
As always, PICCHIOTTI carefully considers every single element of the design. The oval sapphires continue around the back of the neck so that this necklace is as almost as beautiful from behind as it is from the front. The piece is entirely hand-crafted. There were multiple design sketches before the final masterpiece was approved by the entire family. At PICCHIOTTI, all family members are involved in the approvals process for new designs. This statement necklace came together through a passionate collaboration and a myriad of inspirational discussions. Once construction commenced, it took over 350 hours to complete this original masterpiece!
Another astonishing sapphire masterpiece necklace, the “Cushion Drops” necklace, came together from a singular layout of 19 unheated cushion cut sapphires from Sri Lanka, totaling over 80 carats. Set in platinum, each cushion sapphire hangs from a thin diamond collar on a slender diamond bar linked to a large round diamond. The necklace originally contained a layout of emerald-cut diamonds (very similar design). While on his travels in search of the very best gemstones the world has to office, Giuseppe discovered a spectacular layout of rare, unheated sapphires and he knew right away what he wanted to do with them. The family all agreed that the necklace would be even more stunning with color. So, the emerald cut diamonds were meticulously removed and replaced by the unheated cushion-cut sapphires. Each of the settings had to be modified or remade to accommodate the sizes and proportions of the sapphires, and of course, the different shape, but the top structure and the large round diamonds from which the sapphires hang were maintained. Everyone agreed that the overall impact of the necklace was heightened by the incredible blue sapphires, and its value has no doubt increased because unheated sapphires are very rare these days and their prices have skyrocketed. (Don’t worry – the diamonds were happily put to use in the creation of another all-diamond necklace!)
Emerald Masterpiece Necklaces
The Evergreen Jewel
Emeralds are significantly rarer than diamonds; however, they lack the hardness that diamonds are famous for. For color lovers, their deep green hues are fascinating and highly prized. And the Picchiotti family is always thrilled to find exceptional quality emeralds. A quintessentially PICCHIOTTI masterpiece, the “Fit for a Queen” necklace, was created by 18 octagonal vivid green emeralds, each hailing from Zambia. Inspired by the Art Deco era of the 1920s and its emphasis on Modernism, the necklace is comprised of emeralds framed in a seamless border of perfectly re-cut baguette diamonds, in a linear collar, with connecting “links” of round diamonds flanked by baguettes. PICCHIOTTI precisely re-cuts each baguette to fit the specific shape and texture of the emeralds. Such a rigorous attention to detail brings out the beauty and sparkle of the emeralds, especially the octagonal cut with its sharp corners and straight lines, which are matched by the linear “frames” of the baguettes. Geometric lines and use of baguette cuts are typical of the PICCHIOTTI aesthetic. (Click here to learn more about the PICCHIOTTI’s signature use of baguettes.)
Simple, clear shapes are another PICCHIOTTI guideline when building such a distinctive and classic piece of high jewelry. The perfection in the design stems from a deep love of the classical architecture that the Picchiotti is surrounded by in northern Italy. In fact, architecture is one of two primary design inspirations for Giuseppe. The other is nature. For more on PICCHIOTTI’s nature inspired pieces, click here.
Another classic emerald masterpiece necklace is the “Verdant Jewel.” This extraordinary statement pendant necklace features a 21.86 carat cushion-cut, vivid green emerald from Colombia as its shining star and centerpiece. In Giuseppe’s mind, such an exceptional and rare gem calls for a simple and elegant setting that lets the true beauty of the emerald radiate for all to see and admire. This is another aesthetic value of PICCHIOTTI design. “If you have a genuinely special or unique gem, build the jewel around it, so that it becomes the focus of the piece. And keep the design simple and classic, yet intrinsically rich!” says Giuseppe.
With this necklace, he did just that. Set in a custom-created frame of 16 pear-shape diamonds, the emerald truly stands out, its striking color and singularity presented on the “pedestal” of a woman’s chest. Giuseppe opted for an alternating line of emerald-cut and pear-shape diamonds for the platinum collar. The sparkle of the diamonds reinforces the glory of the treasured emerald that softly hangs below.
If you love emeralds, stay tuned for the May Sincerely, Giuseppe post about how to buy the very finest emeralds!
PICCHIOTTI’s long-standing tradition of artistry and craftsmanship has created many Masterpieces over the 55-year history of the brand. Check back occasionally for similar details on other exquisite creations and visit PICCHIOTTI.it from time to time to see the latest designs and newest inspirations. Explore other categories of Masterpieces like earrings, rings, and bracelets here. If you are investing in a timeless, classic for yourself or gifting an extraordinary woman that you love dearly, you cannot go wrong with a PICCHIOTTI Masterpiece!
Feature image at top – PICCHIOTTI “Thousand and One Nights” Masterpiece Ruby necklace
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