Contemporary design meets old-world Italian craftsmanship in styles Marco Bicego asserts he has created, especially for the modern woman.
A Family Business
In 1958, Giuseppe Bicego founded a small workshop with a specialty in gold chains. The shop was located in Trissino in the province of Vicenza in northern Italy. The business enjoyed a brisk trade, quickly becoming renowned for the classic styling and fine quality of its jewelry.
As a youngster, Marco Bicego spent every summer at his father’s atelier, watching the craftsmen work and trying his hand at making jewelry of his own. He spent many years as an apprentice to his father, learning all he could from the talented goldsmiths in Giuseppe’s workshop.
Marco debuted his own collection in 2000, carrying on the traditions of his father, and mindful of the beautiful jewelry steeped in the local culture.
Bicego has found his inspiration in nature, as well as the architecture of the many places he’s visited: Africa, Cairo, Jaipur, and Murano, among other locales.
Ultimately, Bicego has designed for the modern woman, observing that, “she has a tremendous sense of personal style and is not afraid to experiment with jewelry in unconventional ways, especially layering. Because of her, I design with the mentality that pieces can be worn alone and together.”
Materials that Bicego has used in his pieces include 18K yellow, white, and rose gold, which has been smelted in-house. Emeralds, sapphires and semi-precious gemstones such as tourmalines supplied the color. The materials have been sourced from around the world, but hand-crafted in Vicenza, Italy.
I inherited the coil technique from my father. It’s really something that is in my DNA. I reinvent it every time, and yet it’s something in which I can recognize my roots. – Marco Bicego
While working in his father’s factory, Bicego noticed a machine malfunction that caused the gold thread to twist. The craftsman who was operating the machine began to unwind the spiral when an idea came to Bicego. Thus was born the twist, Bicego’s first reinvention, and a happy mishap.
A traditional tool that dates back to the early 1400s, the burin was employed in the creation of fine art of hand carving metal. Goldsmithing Italians adopted the tool to their trade, refining a technique that became known as “bulino.” The result was a series of microdots and lines created by pushing shaped tips into metal by hand. Bulino has produced near-photographic realism that is impossible for machines to replicate. The process is alive and well to this day, beautifully captured in the intricate, beautifully brushed texture of Marco Bicego jewelry, making each piece unique.
Gemstone cuts have also been a source of pride for Bicego, including an exclusive faceted rose-cut that is unique to his business. The delicate hues and range of shades have brought a one-of-a-kind quality to each jewelry design. Gemstones in a variety of colors have been selected and arranged in subtle color palettes. Each setting has been designed, especially for a particular stone. The process begins with precision impressions and hand-drawn prongs on a sheet of 18K gold. Then, the setting has been laser cut -- the only task in the process performed by a machine. The rest has been done by a master artisan to maintain the integrity of the piece.
While the popularity of Bicego jewelry continues to grow, the tradition of hand-crafting each piece remains firmly in place. At the heart of Bicego’s collections are hand-engraved gold and hand-twisted coils. Their craftsmen use a Bulino tool to engrave hundreds of miniature lines on the gold’s surface to create a tactile finish that remains unchangeable with time and is nearly impossible for imitators to replicate.
- Marrakech: Marco Bicego’s signature collection features his “Chorda di Chitarra” technique: Gold that has been hammered by hand then twisted to create a timeless look.
- Masai: Inspired by the art and traditions of the Masai tribe of Kenya and Tanzania, the collection incorporates diamonds and gold in strands that are graceful and complex.
- Lunaria: Named for a flowering plant found in southwest Asia and the Balkans, Bicego’s collection features moon-shaped discs that pay homage to the delicate seed pods of the exotic plant.
- Siviglia: Emulating the cobblestone avenues of Seville, organically shaped gold pebbles are connected by chains and, occasionally, accented with shimmering pavé diamonds.
- African: Spheres of gold in varying sizes, featuring a satin finish, are showcased alone or interspersed with colorful gemstones.
- Cairo: Hand-twisted strands of yellow gold create a woven effect. The look was inspired by Ancient Egyptian royalty.
- Jaipur: Irregular links of gold that have been hand-textured create the appeal of Bicego’s Jaipur collection.
- Goa: Layers of hand-twisted gold, polished and engraved, are sprinkled with diamonds.