Cover Earrings in white gold set with diamonds and emeralds from Gucci's Hortus Deliciarum High Jewellery collection (Photos: Gucci)

Gucci takes inspiration from the ephemeral wonders of nature once again to create sparkling bejewelled masterpieces for Hortus Deliciarum, its second high jewellery collection

When Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele turned his attention to high jewellery in 2019, he embarked on an extraordinary venture for the fashion house with a collection of precious jewels that carried his inimitable design style, marking the brand’s entry into the ultimate tier of luxury jewellery.

The possibilities roused the curiosity of many—what shape would these gems take, moulded by his famously eccentric, unpredictable, vintage‑influenced aesthetic? The result was Hortus Deliciarum, a veritable garden of delights, as aptly described in the Latin name, filled with some truly mesmerising masterpieces that reflected Gucci’s symbolic iconography, while stamped with Michele’s trademark maximalist style in a refreshing turn that befits the status of high jewellery.

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This year, Michele continues exploring the nature‑inspired theme, taking Gucci connoisseurs into his wondrous garden of jewels yet again with a four‑part narrative that introduces the distinct facets of his kaleidoscopic universe. A total of 130 pieces—mostly one of a kind have been unveiled, and together they form a brilliant extension of the fantastical collection.

Along with the next chapter of Hortus Deliciarum, Gucci presented a new advertising campaign featuring British model and actress Jodie Turner‑Smith. Pictured in a series of images and a film that evoke fantasy and Hollywood glamour, she is seen taking a midnight dip in a pool while dripping in the jewels and accompanied by wild creatures including a snake and a bird. It’s an expectedly abstract concept that fits right in with the eclectic nature of both the house’s identity and its high jewellery, which are composed of the following stories.

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Natural Landscapes

The majesty of nature, as seen in magnificent waterfalls and lush foliage in forests, is recreated in bejewelled miniatures. Cascading diamonds mimic the sparkle as sunlight hits falling water, while violet spinels and blue Paraiba tourmalines are cleverly juxtaposed to evoke the bright azure of the ocean.

Among the highlights in this chapter is a necklace with a 6.13‑carat emerald as its captivating centrepiece—a nod to the verdant hues of secret woodlands. Michele also chose to showcase an array of fringed, tasselled necklaces and chandelier earrings—both reminiscent of the well‑loved jewellery styles of the 1920s.

Sunset Views

Shades of red, orange-pink, purple and blue blend into a hypnotic colour palette used to an enchanting effect in the poetic second chapter. If you’ve never seen the magic of nightfall captured with jewels, these creations will be an eye‑opener. Among the stunners is an 8‑carat opal that is set among a mix of twilight‑hued gemstones, in what Michele describes as “discordant symmetry”. These jewels are ever‑so‑slightly mismatched in order to channel the ephemerality of a sky’s quickly changing colours as day becomes night.

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Rose Garden

The most feminine high jewellery interpretation yet in Hortus Deliciarum pays tribute to a beloved flower, one of the most adored among Mother Nature’s creations. The gemstones, including Padparadscha sapphires, have been carefully chosen in order to emulate the delicate hue of pink-tinged roses. Some of the floral-inspired necklaces are designed to come with detachable pendant components, to provide the wearer with myriad ways to enjoy the precious jewels.

Besides designs featuring florals in abundance, there are also several masterpieces in this chapter that feature beautifully shaped Rococo‑styled bows that have an amazingly realistic form and dimension. These delicate, diamond-encrusted ribboned sautoirs and bracelets will no doubt appeal to the romantic at heart.

Fantastic Beasts

The fourth chapter takes us to the animal kingdom, where we see familiar Gucci icons such as the tiger and lion taking pride of their place in the designs. Yellow gold dominates the pieces here and has its warmth amplified by yellow beryls. The ultimate showstopper is undeniably the collier‑style necklace featuring a centrepiece opal of 16.36 carats, which is surrounded by 22 leonine figures. These majestic creatures of the jungle are surrounded by motifs of leaves, flowers and stars, forming a beautiful fairytale‑like scene.

Larger Than Life

Michele’s love for statement rings is no secret, which explains why he also introduced a series within Hortus Deliciarum. These substantial rings are set with large-sized precious gems in an array of tempting colours, from Afghan mint tourmaline, sunset‑pink rubellite and violet tanzanites to orange sapphires, rose‑pink topaz and mandarin garnet. Framing these gems is the soft glow emanating from innumerable diamonds, set into floral and foliage motifs that perfectly showcase these stunners.