MILAN — Bulgari’s latest jewelry line is as glittering as ever, but it’s also fragrant. Called Le Gemme, Italian for “the gems,” the collection features six high-end eaux de parfum, presented in dark flacons shaped like Greco-Roman amphorae and representing different semiprecious stones.
“This is a special project, conceived to represent the brand over the long term,” said Bulgari Parfums managing director Valeria Manini, noting that the Italian jeweler, part of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, began working on Le Gemme three years ago. The idea, she explained, was to emphasize the historic symbolism of gemstones, which many people today, including jewelry aficionados, have forgotten.
“Just as there used to be a tea route and silk route, we had the idea to develop a ‘gem route,’ creating fragrances that represent the ideas and emotions associated with each gem,” said Manini, adding that Bulgari had consulted with numerous gem and fragrance experts on the project.
In the end, the company tapped perfumer Daniela Andrier of Givaudan to devise each of the juices, which she said she based on “the color of stones.”
“One cannot say that lavender ‘smells’ of purple or that irises ‘smell’ blue, but at the same time, in our minds, I think there is a natural association between colors and scents,” Andrier noted.
Ashlemah is the scent developed around amethyst, and includes notes of lavender, iris, violet and heliotrope, while the turquoise Noorah is more exotic and features galbanum, cardamom, iris, benzoin resin, tobacco, oak, patchouli oil and vanilla. Amarena, the tourmaline, is floral and fruity with sensual tuberose and powdery rose notes; Lilaia, the peridot, is fresh and woody, with touches of mastic, peppermint, orange and mate; Maravilla, the citrine, is a chypre scent rich in citrus, as well as peach, jasmine, patchouli and acethyvenol. Calaluna, the last of the juices, represents moonstone, and contains sandalwood, cardamom, heliotrope, ambrette and a pear accent.
The six fragrances will be available separately or as a set, and in bottle sizes ranging from 30 ml to 350 ml. The price points are high, with a 100-ml bottle set to retail for about 280 euros, or about $381.
Le Gemme will hit shelves in Europe and Asia first, in September, and reach the U.S. market in February. Manini estimated the total door count would be around 500, including Bulgari boutiques and a major American luxury department store. In keeping with the fragrances’ ultraselective distribution and positioning, she said no major advertising campaign is planned for the launch. Instead, boutiques carrying Le Gemme will focus on in-store presentation, and sales personnel will assist customers one-on-one in choosing the right scent.
Manini declined to provide a sales figure, however industry sources posited that Le Gemme could do anywhere from 10 to 20 million euros, or $13.8 million to $27.2 million at current exchange rates, in retail sales in the first 18 months.
Manini said Bulgari was also developing a line of fragrances based on precious stones, but that initiative is still in the early stages.
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