Two years later, Michele is back with the second outing, ‘Hortus Deliciarum’ (Latin for ‘Garden of Delights’), comprising nearly 130 pieces and replete with the layered symbolism that he is known for.
The collection, in a kaleidoscopic palette, reflects shifting hues and constellations, with motifs divided into four segments, all paying homage to the glory of Mother Nature. The first chapter celebrates natural landscapes and the great outdoors—waterfalls, forestry—all recreated through cascading diamonds, victoriana leaves, fringe and tasselled necklaces à la the Roaring Twenties. The second chapter, using bold settings in romantic styles borrowed from the 19th century, uses rich opal, topaz, and tourmaline to bring to mind the saturated, ephemeral nature of the sky at sunset. The third is informed by the everlasting romanticism of rose gardens, sautoirs and Rococo bows, flora and fauna that is talismanic. Finally, the last segment revisits the animal kingdom—the strength of the lion, the courage of the tiger, the magical mysticism of Dionysius. Each animal is also surrounded by nature—stars, leaves, flowers—come to life in the settings, and solitaries are given Michele’s maximalist treatment. Keeping in mind important elements of sustainability and ethical practices, 100 per cent of the gold used has been certified by the Responsible Jewelry Council Chain of Custody certification scheme while the Kering Gold Fund contributes to reforestation in French Guiana and is also partnered with the the NGO Solidaridad to focus on empowering women in the vicinity of gold mines in Ghana.