Gucci Harnesses the Power of Stones
Opal, malachite or tiger’s eye, the Italian luxury house transforms Earth’s riches into beautiful coloured dials that leave no-one stone cold!
Gucci is forging a reputation as a serious watchmaker. Take the example of the G-Timeless Dancing Bees Tourbillon whose namesake tourbillon is visible beneath a diamond star and surrounded by bees that tremble with every movement of the wrist. The jewellery versions introduced this year add another layer of luxury in their green or pink opal dials. Indeed, the Italian brand makes frequent use of ornamental or hard stones in its watches.
Spectacular opal shows the colours of every other gem, which explains why the Romans believed it to be the most precious and most powerful stone of all. Rare and therefore valuable, precious opal (as opposed to common opal) contains microparticles of silica which break up light to produce a stunning display of iridescent colours. Fire, black or white, opals come in a myriad of hues. “Quality opal is extremely rare and must be handled with great care,” comments Daniel Haas whose workshop specialises in handcrafted stone dials. “A slice of opal for a single dial can cost as much as €7,000.” The opal for the dials of the gem-set G-Timeless Dancing Bees Tourbillon has been inlaid in a chevron design; a technique that demands infinite dexterity as opal is a fragile stone.
Dancing Bees Tourbillon © Gucci
Magical malachite charms with its dark to vivid green bands. A fairly common stone, we appreciate it for its beauty more than its rarity. Somewhat brittle and easily scratched, malachite is not an easy to stone to work with while its sensitivity to heat can make it difficult to polish. “Watchmakers often ask us to cut malachite along a straight line, which adds to its fragility as the dark lines are more porous,” explains Daniel Haas. “We polish it cold using paraffin.” Gucci has chosen malachite for the dial of the G-Timeless Multibee, the Grip and the Lion Head.
Grip, G-Timeless Dancing Bees Tourbillon, Lion Head © Gucci
Catch the eye
Tiger’s eye, bull’s eye and hawk’s eye… Gucci has an eye for these stones whose chatoyancy produces a beautiful shimmer. While tiger’s eye is a golden brown, bull’s eye has a reddish tint and hawk’s eye is a greyish-blue. These differences in colour are due to the presence (or absence) of iron oxides and how this iron oxidises. Relatively common, these stones open up all manner of possibilities, as illustrated for example on the automatic G-Timeless.
G-Timeless Dancing Bees, G-Timeless Dancing Bees, G-Timeless Moonlight © Gucci
Among the other stones favoured by the brand, which began life as a maker of fine leathergoods, are black onyx - on the G-Timeless Multibee – and turquoise – on the Lion Head. The Italian luxury house is also a fan of aventurine glass, meteorite – on the G-Timeless Moonlight – and organic mother-of-pearl. Enough to melt any heart… of stone!