A pair of mandolin and acoustic guitar players strum amorously above a hum of lively chatter as patrons pour over Italian-made jewels—diamonds and precious gemstones beset in hand-engraved gold, a craft steeped in atelier tradition.
Although it sounds like the scene of a shopping mercato in an Italian city center, it was the sight of a guest appearance event at Neiman Marcus Denver by Italian luxury jewelry designer Marco Bicego.
Having touched down in the U.S. the night before from Tokyo and with an evening flight to Detroit to catch, Bicego was in high demand. Nevertheless, he insured Denver caught a glimpse of him personally sharing his eponymous handcrafted jewelry line (available for purchase at Neiman Marcus Denver).
Forthright, yet with no shortage of charm, Bicego enlightened 303 Magazine about his journeys: from a goldsmith heritage to a globally recognizable jewelry brand, and from raw material to timeless art.
303 Magazine: As an artisan you had a choice about which material to work with, why choose gold?
Bicego: “I used to spend summers each year at my father’s goldsmithing factory where I would watch the craftsmen at work and try my hand at making objects of my own. We will always design using gold as it’s intrinsic to our brand DNA and my personal goldsmithing heritage.”
303 Magazine: What does the label “Made in Italy” represent to you? And why are you proud to be a part of it?
Bicego: “I was born in Vicenza, Italy—the gold capitol of the world—so being able to say my collection is ‘Made in Italy’ brings me great joy and pride as it’s my home. The skills of old world Italian craftsmanship withstand the test of time and we continue to use those techniques, such as hand engraving—which leaves hundreds of tiny lines on the surface and creates a tactile finish—which remains practically unalterable through time. Handmade, artisanal, perfectly imperfect: those are the tenants at the heart of the Marco Bicego brand, ‘Made in Italy.’”
303 Magazine: I understand you are devoted to Italian culture, what do you love about it?
Bicego: “Where to begin … the food, the architecture and the importance of family, which is my greatest influence.”
“Handmade, artisanal, perfectly imperfect: those are the tenants at the heart of the Marco Bicego brand, ‘Made in Italy.’” — MB
303 Magazine: How is jewelry worn differently in the U.S. than in Italy?
Bicego: “Yes, they are different because it’s a part of the culture. The Americans have a different approach to jewelry. They are amazing in terms of buying, layering, interpreting my jewelry. In Italy, they are more conservative; funny and strange, but it’s true. The Italians are less novelty and more traditional. They never go into a store to ask about the new collection. They buy normally for special occasions, anniversaries—they never buy because they like a handbag or pair of shoes. The mentality is different, and this is why I love the American women!”
303 Magazine: Who is the Marco Bicego woman?
Bicego: “The Marco Bicego woman has an innate sense of style; she is youthful, appreciates art, travel and isn’t afraid to experiment with jewelry in unconventional ways.”
303 Magazine: What is your favorite piece from the latest collection?
Bicego: “My favorite is the Murano collar! I love working with gemstones and mixing unexpected colors together to create the perfect balance has been so fun. The necklace is also bold enough to make a statement, yet personal enough to wear everyday.”
303 Magazine: Why is the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme important to you in sourcing? (KPCS is a joint global initiative to stop the flow of “conflict diamonds.”)
Bicego: “I take pride in the materials I use. I aim to choose the best quality. Although, I would never want to compromise my principals even to create some perfection.”
303 Magazine: You are quite the globetrotter, where is your favorite place on earth, and why?
Bicego: “Anywhere with a beach where I can spend time with my family. I recently purchased a new home on the beach in Venice, Italy. It’s a 45-minute drive, so easy!”
303 Magazine: As an avid sports fan, what is your favorite sport?
Bicego: “I play on a soccer team every week—midfield position. Keeps me young!”
“The Marco Bicego woman has an innate sense of style; she is youthful, appreciates art, travel and isn’t afraid to experiment with jewelry in unconventional ways.” — MB