September Stone of the Month : Sapphire

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Blue sapphire belongs to the mineral species corundum. It can be a pure blue but ranges from greenish blue to violetish blue. The name “sapphire” can also apply to any corundum that’s not red and doesn’t qualify as ruby, another corundum variety.


Deep, intense, velvety blue is the best way to describe the color of this sapphire from the Kashmir region on the India/Pakistan border.

Most people who think of sapphire picture the color blue.


Besides blue sapphire and ruby, the corundum family also includes so-called “fancy sapphires.” They come in violet, green, yellow, orange, pink, purple, and intermediate hues. There are also “parti-colored” sapphires that show combinations of different colors. Some stones exhibit the phenomenon known as color change, most often going from blue in daylight or fluorescent lighting to purple under incandescent light. Sapphires can even be gray, black, or brown.

Stunning jewelry designs can be created by combining different sapphire colors.


Fancy sapphires are generally less available than blue ones, and some colors are scarce, especially in very small or very large sizes. Still, fancy sapphires create a rainbow of options for people who like the romance associated with this gem, but who also want something out of the ordinary.

Sapphires come in every color except red. Red corundum earns the name “ruby.”

The mineral corundum is composed only of aluminum and oxygen, and it requires a growth environment that’s free of silicon. However, silicon is a very common element, making natural corundum relatively uncommon. In its purest state, corundum is actually colorless. Colorless sapphires were once popular diamond imitations, and they’ve staged a comeback as accent stones in recent years.

But colorless corundum is rare. Most corundum contains color-causing trace elements. When the trace elements are iron and titanium, the corundum is blue sapphire. Only a few hundredths of a percent of iron and titanium can cause the color, and the more iron the corundum contains, the darker the blue. Chromium can cause the red color of ruby or the pink of pink sapphire.


In the 1990s, discoveries in East Africa and Madagascar brought fancy sapphires widespread recognition. The new sources supplemented production from traditional ones like Sri Lanka and Madagascar and increased the availability of yellows, oranges, pinks, and purples.

The colors attracted jewelry designers who wanted to move away from traditional hues of red, blue, and green. Now, contemporary designers arrange fancy sapphires in stunning rainbow suites.

Corundum can show a phenomenon called asterism, or the star effect. This phenomenon usually appears as a six-ray star pattern across a cabochon-cut stone’s curved surface. The star effect can be seen in ruby or any color of sapphire, and it arises from white light reflecting from numerous tiny, oriented needle-like inclusions.

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Besides fancy sapphire and star corundum, there’s another interesting variety: color-change sapphire. These fascinating stones change color under different lighting. Their presence adds a special dimension to the already amazing corundum family of gems.

Both blue and fancy sapphires come from a variety of exotic sources including Madagascar, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Australia.

BULGARI Watch for September: Octo Finissimo Skeleton

 The BULGARI Octo Finissimo Skeleton

The BULGARI Octo Finissimo Skeleton

2018: The Year of Octo-Obsession Continues With A Skeleton Delight

The Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) announced their nominees for what is known as the Academy Awards of the watchmaking world. Of all the GPHG nominations, Bulgari got the most nods. The brand is up for awards in five categories, including jewelry, men’s complication, ladies’, ladies’ complication, and mechanical exception.


And while we won’t know the results until the ceremony on November 9th, we haven’t stopped thinking about all things Octo since Baselworld. First, we fell in love with the chimes of the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic, and then we succumbed to the charms of the Octo Finissimo Sandblasted. Now, we’re all about the Octo Finissimo Skeleton Black Edition, an opulent men’s watch that combines the taut, edgy lines of an objet d’art with haute horology.

Thin Is In

First, let’s address the space race. There is definitely a space race going on between watchmakers. And while silhouettes are getting slimmer in all categories, ultra-thin watches are usually seen as the province of dress watches. In the last five years, however, the friendly competition between Piaget and Bulgari to create the world’s thinnest mechanical watch (with or without a complication) has created an opening for sporty but skinny timepieces.


At 40mm, the Octo Finissimo Skeleton Black Edition has plenty of wrist presence. Yet its thickness has been reduced to a bare minimum of 5.37mm. This allows the watch to sit perfectly flush on the wrist so that it doesn’t get caught up under cuffs — you don’t want to hide a beauty like this under your sleeve.


Another innovation is the integrated bracelet. Ultra-thin, ultra-light-weight and flexible the Octo Finissimo Skeleton Black Edition’s folding clasp is literally set inside the bracelet for a snug, comfortable fit.

Fine Finishes

In 2018, Bulgari celebrated its 100th year of jewelry watchmaking. But with the Octo — a singular watch that has grown into a whole collection — Bulgari has transitioned from being a jeweler who makes watches into a watchmaker that makes fine watches that also work as jewelry.


And it’s with a jeweler’s eye for details that make the Octo Finissimo Skeleton Black Edition stand out. Like the sandblasted models, the matte finish of the black Diamond Like Carbon (DLC) coated titanium case, and bracelet jumps out visually. The black coating also adorns the bridges. The indications bring the only color accents, all highlighted with rose gold-plated hands. The hours and minutes hands are faceted and openworked.

But Octo Finissimo Skeleton Black Edition is more than just a pretty face. The design, in fact, is quite practical. The dedicated central hours and minutes hands appear to be suspended in mid-dial. The small seconds is shown between 7 and 8 o’clock. At 9 o’clock, the power reserve is on the front side. The metal under the case’s ebony coating is lightweight-but hardwearing sandblasted titanium.

Good Bones

With the Octo line, Bulgari likes to prove that it’s up for a technical challenge. In the case of the Skeleton Black Edition, the brand had to balance the signature eight-sided case shape with the delicate openworked movement. So not only was the case slimmed down and the materials made lighter, The mechanics were meticulously cut away to eliminate any superfluous material.

That mechanism is, of course, the Finissimo BVL 128 SK calibre, a manufacture hand-wound skeleton movement measuring just 2.35mm thick. The result is stunning: the openwork structure of the watch is all about transparency, enablinga views through the whole movement, from the front, and through the sapphire caseback window. This mechanism is none other than the Finissimo BVL 128 SK calibre, a Manufacture hand-wound skeleton movement measuring just 2.35mm thick.


We can’t wait to see how Bulgari will continue to innovate with the Octo collection in 2019. But for those of us who live in the present, this graphic and robust creation will do nicely for now.

BULGARI Watch of the Month



Always in tune with women’s desires, Lvcea Tubogas Skeleton makes this sophisticated mechanical complication a playful addition to its growing family of watches.

Designed for women who appreciate the delicate complexity of mechanical timepieces, it is a virtuoso display of haute horlogerie, revealing the hidden depths of the Lvcea for the very first time. Confirming Bvlgari’s commitment to feminine watches, the Lvcea Skeleton is the only skeletonized watch on the market made expressly for women.

The new Lvcea Tubogas Skeleton in pink gold and diamonds showcases the exquisitely complicated automatic winding BVL 191 skeleton movement, crafted by hand in-house in Bvlgari’s Manufacture in Switzerland. However, this being Bvlgari, the Lvcea Skeleton is not just a mechanical masterpiece that allows women to admire its beating heart. It is the first skeleton watch in history that takes the letters of the watchmaker’s logo and makes them integral to the design.

The timepieces is presented with the iconic Tubogas bracelet, reminding us of Bvlgari’s heritage as a jeweller. The slinky links of the Tubogas bracelet add a pleasing symmetry when contrasted with the perfectly round face of the Lvcea.

Christened Tubogas because of its similarity to a lowly woven-metal gas pipe, the technique has been used in jewellery making since the late 40’s. An eloquent example of industrial-inspired design, it was popularized in the Art Deco period when the challenge of miniaturizing large engineered objects, and using them for novel purposes, took off. In the 1940s, Bvlgari inserted a watch dial into a Tubogas bracelet to create a highly stylized serpent watch. The design was revived in the 1970s when Bvlgari introduced it into watches, bracelets, necklaces and rings. The effect of a stark, engineered coil combined with coins and richly colored precious gems created a fascinating contrast that marked Bvlgari’s style of jewels, intended to be worn and enjoyed every day. 

Complicated to produce, the Tubogas is formed by long bands of gold or steel that are wrapped around a steel core. As they are coiled, the rounded contours of the bands interlock to conceal completely the inner structure. The specialist goldsmiths use no soldering. The flexibility of the coiled bands alone is what gives the Tubogas its characteristic bounce. Crafted with a jeweller’s sensibility, the result is a watch that is proudly Italian, unapologetically glamorous and forever stylish. 



In-house mechanical movement Calibre BVL 191SK with automatic winding and skeleton execution. Indication of the hours, minutes and seconds, 28,800 vph, 42-hour power reserve.

Case, dial and strap

33mm 18kt gold rose case set with brilliant-cut diamonds. 18kt rose gold crown set with a pink cabochon-cut stone and a brilliant-cut diamond. 18kt rose gold bezel set with brilliant-cut diamonds. Open work dial featuring the BVLGARI logo with rose gold plated letters set with diamonds (117 stones). Red lacquered hands. Water-resistant to 50m. 18kt rose gold Tubogas bracelet with lugs set with brilliant-cut diamonds

Bella Hadid Shines in BULGARI

Brand Ambassador Bella Hadid (IG: 18.3M Followers) leaves her hotel wearing BVLGARI high jewelry heading to an event in New York.


From left to right: High Jewelry White Gold, Pink Sapphire, Black Mother of Pearl and Diamond Ring (7596); High Jewelry Diamond Drop Earrings (M9745); Giardini Italiani High Jewelry White Gold and Diamond Bracelet (260771)

Stars Shine in BULGARI

Stars shine in BULGARI at the 2018 MTV Movie Awards in Santa Monica.

Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman (IG: 5M followers) wears BVLGARI Catene gold chain necklace and actress Olivia Munn (IG: 2.1M followers) carries the Serpenti Tubogas gold cocktail clutch at the 2018 MTV Movie Awards held in Santa Monica. 

Bella Heathcote Shines in BULGARI at the "Face of the Future" Event in Los Angeles

Actress Bella Heathcote (IG: 132K followers) shines in BVLGARI MVSA rings and earrings at the Women in Film Face of the Future event, hosted by Vanity Fair and Max Mara at Chateau Marmont Hotel, Los Angeles.       


From left to right: MVSA Pink Gold, Chalcedony, Boule Rubellite, Cabochon Tourmaline and Pave Diamond Earrings (349552).  MVSA Pink Gold and Mother of Pearl Ring (353133)


Designs of the Month for August

August Design Heralds Color and POP