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‘Rich?’ says Sabine Getty, laughing, when I ask her to describe what it feels like to wear Bulgari’s Aquamarine Foam necklace. There is foundation to Getty’s remark: hers for just a few hours, Bulgari’s landmark necklace forms part of the Roman maison’s bold Magnifica collection of priceless high jewellery. It catches the eye with its aquamarines, rubellites, Akoya pearls and diamonds, both brilliant-cut and pavé-set; the effervescent design has been billed as an ode to open seas, capturing the natural beauty of rippling water and light-as-air spume.

Getty, however, has other ideas. ‘It’s me, at the great parties of my imagination,’ she declares. ‘In the 1960s, in the summer, in the South of France. You know what I mean? By a pool.’

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Getty attended the Manhattan campus of the Gemological Institute of America, subsequently launching her eponymous (and presently dormant) line of gems in the autumn of 2012. Her appreciation of jewellery veers between scholarly and fanciful: no wonder Bulgari asked Tatler’s editor-at-large to be an ambassador. Today, at her London apartment, precious gems spark daydreams. ‘The jewellery that you wear is the story you want to tell,’ she opines, before deadpanning: ‘There is no more powerful tool than jewellery to say whatever it is that you want to say. You can just shut up all evening and it says it for you.’

Bulgari’s oceanic necklace is now put aside for one imagining the brand’s coiling mascot, the Serpenti snake, in onyx, diamonds and an outsized fuchsia-red rubellite of 22.98 carats. ‘It’s a totally different woman,’ Getty says. ‘But you can be all these women, at the same time. Which is how I feel. I have all these sides to myself and this is a totally different side.’ And so Getty starts to create aloud a moodboard. ‘Here, suddenly, I am elsewhere. In my head, I am in New York. We’re [at] the end of the 1980s, beginning of the 1990s,’ she says, eyes trained sharply on her phone, its screen illuminated with a snapshot of the necklace. ‘I am going to a Met opera and after that, there’s a great dinner and I am wearing a black satin suit. This is very sensual, mysterious. The snake is a very powerful animal and symbol.’

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