As the Italian jewelry designer continues his 10-city tour, we caught up with him to discuss his newest collection, what to expect during his visit to Bernie Robbins Jewelers’ latest boutique, and what he loves most about Philadelphia.
Marco Bicego began his training as a gold artisan at his father’s atelier in Veneto, Italy. There, he learned to successfully manipulate gold, and create natural pieces that are bold and luxurious. Once Bicego launched his jewelry line in 2000, his artful pieces can now be find in over thousands of the finest jewelers and boutiques around the world, including Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and renowned independent boutiques such as Bernie Robbins Jewelers.
Here, we sat down with the acclaimed jeweler to chat about what trends he's seeing in jewelry right now, how he'll be hand-graving pieces for customers during his visit to Bernie Robbins Jewelers, and why he loves the City of Brotherly Love.
What are you most looking forward to during your visit to Bernie Robbins' newest location? MARCO BICEGO: I feel a deep sense of commitment to the Marco Bicego consumer, so I’m really looking forward to meeting the women who wear my designs. I draw a great amount of inspiration from seeing how they style the pieces and wear them in their everyday lives.
You are in the United States for a 10-city tour; what are you most excited about seeing? How does the US market compare to other markets, like Europe, in terms of styling and trends? MB: I’m really looking forward to meeting American women, in particular, who wear my pieces! I have to say, American women have perfected the art of layering and interpreting my jewelry, so it’s always fun to see how they manage to do that. European women are more traditional and typically buy pieces for special occasions, whereas American women are willing to walk into a retailer simply to ask about our newest collections. Regardless, the Marco Bicego woman, no matter where you go, always has an innate sense of style. Our jewelry can easily go from day to night and has a unique, personal feel, so it can be worn on many occasions and by women all around the world.
Your collection features exquisite pieces. Can you tell us what inspired this latest collection? MB: Thank you, we’re very proud of our newest Masai collection. I look to my travels around the world to derive inspiration for new pieces. The collection is inspired by ornaments that are typical of the African Masai Tribe. The fine attention to detail found in these ornaments was something to behold. Within our Masai collection, each piece is crafted in 18kt yellow and white gold and features hand-coiled strands gracefully layered together. These pieces are made to adapt to the natural curves of the body, making this versatile collection perfect as standalone pieces or layering with other jewelry.
Do you think your Italian heritage is seen in your beautiful jewelry? MB: I think my Italian heritage is truly the foundation of my work. Growing up around my father’s goldsmithing atelier every summer, my passion and love for designing came from my admiration for his craft. I would watch the craftsmen at work and try my own hand at making pieces. After many, many years of studying under these master artisans, I launched my own line, always keeping in mind the skills of old world Italian craftsmanship. Our jewelry today is hand-crafted by second-generation goldsmiths, giving each piece a unique, personal quality.
What do you have planned for the rest of the year for your line? MB: Well, we are always trying to push the envelope when it comes to designing the line. We’re always expanding upon the brand’s core collections, adding pops of color with beautiful stones or adding a luster with pave or rose-cut diamonds. We’re excited about a few projects we have in the works, but we’ll wait to share details—stay tuned!
You will be hand-engraving pieces during your visit. Tell us about this very personal touch for customers. MB: Hand-engraving is one of the hallmarks of our brand. It has always been an important aspect of my work because it shows an immense attention to detail and makes the jewelry-making process a personal one. Our craftsmen employ a time-honored technique, using a “Bulino” tool, which engraves hundreds of tiny lines on the gold’s surface. It takes 18kt luxurious yellow gold and creates a beautiful textured finish. Hand-made, artisanal and perfectly imperfect, there’s nothing more personal than pieces you’ve put a little bit of yourself into.
Finally, do you have any favorite things to do in the Philadelphia area? MB: Tradition and history mean so much to me, so I love traveling around Philadelphia to see the classic American landmarks, like the Liberty Bell. One of my favorite destinations is actually the oldest art museum in the U.S.: the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.