November 30, 2005
Coming from a long line of prominent diamond dealers and distinctive jewelers, Paolo Bongia takes his love of stones and jewelry to a whole new level of artistic. Every creation is a masterpiece in its own right. Large, oversized, unconventional… Paolo Bongia’s jewelry has been called many names, but stunning undisputedly tops the list.
For Bongia, inspiration is plentiful. He sees it in everything around him – no, not just nature, sunsets, stars or sea shells, it could be something as simple as a telephone cord and it varies according to his mood! His eccentric creations stem from his love and ability to see something in all its angles, beautiful and ugly alike.
An even bigger source of inspiration is the women these jewels are made for. “I always have an image of a woman in my head and I work from there. I want to create things for real people who will wear this jewelry instead of envisioning tall, slim models who will only display these pieces.”
Bongia grew up with jewelry; however, at one point in his life becoming a jeweler was the last thing he wanted to be. He took off to England to study political science, but his true passion was jewelry and eventually it could no longer be ignored. Bongia approached jewelry as an amateur and experimented with a collection of rings when he was just 19. His little collection was a success and immediately sold in Paris, but it was not until much later that he decided to immerse himself in the world of jewelry.
“Although I started out as an amateur, I eventually studied things like gemology and design, but to me, the most important school in my life were my parents; I got the artistic side of my mother and the know-how of my father,” said Bongia. Artistic in every sense of the word, Bongia’s mother is still active in the world of jewelry and his father’s experience as a diamond dealer has been invaluable.
Eventually Bongia branched out from the family and established his own brand. “I wanted to focus on Paolo Bongia as an individual brand. I have a very different approach to my work; I am very much a dictator in my art!”
Never heeding the shocked reactions of those who felt his work was much too different, Bongia continued his work for years creating his one of a kind pieces, always pleased that their shock value and ability to intrigue never waned.
“It doesn’t worry me if people say some items are too big, too different, too classical, or not wearable. I am however, always eager to hear constructive criticism of those well versed in the art of jewelry making; it’s usually very eye-opening,” said Bongia thoughtfully.
Bongia successfully entered international markets with his very first collection as an amateur. Passionate about what he does to extremes, Bongia is doing what he loves and also enjoys a degree of freedom that is very valuable to him, as such, he is hesitant at the thought of becoming a huge worldwide brand. “I don’t want to become a slave to my work. I have had numerous offers from people willing to invest in my brand and have plans to make it huge, but so far I have refused. I might be open to the idea someday,” he said.
Paolo Bongia’s designs are available all over the Middle East except Kuwait. The brand’s head office is based in Valencia, a small village on the outskirts of Milan. Eventually, Bongia sees the possibility of opening a few locations in select European cities.
Ready and willing to enter new territory, his expansion plans stretch beyond jewelry. “I might venture into furniture one day because I love art itself and I am much more into conception and formation than design; the strength of my skills is in my hands,” he said. Why not, one ponders – with impressively successful endeavors already achieved, for Paolo Bongia the sky is the limit!