Tjaša Malalan
Nejc Puš

Creating the Bond between Designers and Ladies

Tjaša Malalan
Nejc Puš
When we were preparing the list of contents for the tenth issue of Moments by Malalan, I thought of returning to the first issue for the interview. To Trissino, the town the exceptional forms and colours of Marco Bicego jewellery come from. It has been a little over five years since I talked to the energetic owner about jewellery design, Italian cuisine, and five-year plans for the growth of the company and the development of new collections; now, I was primarily interested in what has changed in the time since then.

Marco Bicego is a man who talks a lot and fast, yet it often seems that his words are barely able to keep up with his thoughts. He is a man of action, which he tackles with in-depth consideration and that reflects in both his jewellery and the increasing global recognition of the brand.

T: The last interview we did was almost five years ago.

M: Wow, really? That long ago? Incredible, I was convinced it was three years at the most!

T: You told me then that you have very clearly set goals for the next five years. What has been going on during this time?

M: Yes, we have certainly not been resting in the last five years. For the best possible image of the brand worldwide, we have decreased the number of sales points globally. Now we only work with the best and I am truly glad that you are one of our most important partners.

We work immensely on the optimisation of production processes and market tracking and adjusting to the situation in each one individually. We have employed a few very capable people who come from extremely powerful companies. We have reorganised the entire working process: when we do what, in what way, in what amounts. We do a lot of testing and development both within collections and on the level of individual models.

Marco Bicego & Tjaša Malalan
Both jewellery and watches become part of the family tradition and that is what gives them true value that is significantly higher than the financial one.

T: In our first interview we talked about how long it takes from your idea to the final piece. Is it still the same with the new processes?

M: Absolutely, from a few weeks to several years. An interesting example is the new Petali Collection, which was introduced in September 2018. When I showed the first prototypes in the company, the reaction was very tepid. They were a part of the Lunaria Collection which was received in much the same way at its first “evaluation”; nevertheless, I ordered the making of 25 pieces and headed to America with them.

There I joined a couple of events where I continued my testing and showed the prototypes to various clients. Believe it or not, I sold 20 pieces immediately. This way I knew that the collection had potential.

T: What do you think makes jewellery special?

M: Jewellery is not only aesthetics, it is a sum of various things, among which wearability is one of the most important factors. Jewellery has to be simple, its form purified, it has to retain value, and stay current through several generations. An interesting parallel can be found in wristwatches which usually retain their value excellently, but, nevertheless, people do not sell them.

Both jewellery and watches become part of the family tradition and that is what gives them true value that is significantly higher than the financial one.

For me, the chair in my office has a similar meaning. I bought it when I got married in 1996. It is always a part of me, every time I see it, I remember that special moment. I try to approach jewellery as a buyer, not as a designer. I find that we only wear a few pieces every day, regardless of whether we own many things. We are, for example, defined by a pair of shoes, a jacket, possibly a watch or jewellery.

I want exactly that for my jewellery and I am incredibly proud when my clients tell me that they generally own a lot of jewellery but they wear Marco Bicego the most. This really is not about the price. It is important that you wear jewellery every day. That makes me extremely happy.


T: I’ve noticed that even in the established collections, you keep adding new pieces. Can you tell me more about that?

M: When I travel around the world and meet fans of our jewellery, I usually carry with me a small engraving tool so that I can engrave my initials on their jewellery. This signature creates a bond between the designer and the ladies wearing my pieces. Frequently, they have several different pieces in their collection and it always surprises me how creative they are—namely, they make the most amazing combinations, which is interesting because each of them is unique due to the way they play with their jewellery.

In Europe, ladies are slightly more reserved; nevertheless, sometimes I see a combination of a long Paradise necklace with the Petals pendant. Incredible! I see new pieces as a tool ladies can use to express their personality in a new way every day.


T: Of all your collections, the Africa collection is the closest to me.

M: Have you seen the new piece with diamonds and the new droplet element?

T: I’m thrilled about how delicate and contemporary it looks. And with such a small change!

M: I adore the Africa; I think it’s one of our best collections. The interpretation of the round element is in a way classical, yet reinterpreted as an irregular, organic form. These days in unique pieces, we combine it with very regular forms of gems and it works phenomenally, but Africa can actually take anything.

In the new collection we play with pure gold, diamonds, colourful precious stones, and it all looks fantastic.

I want exactly that for my jewellery and I am incredibly proud when my clients tell me that they generally own a lot of jewellery but they wear Marco Bicego the most. 

T: What about the Lucia Collection?

M: This is a truly interesting story. I’ve returned to the times of my father, since it was he who designed it in the 1990s. I found his sketches in our archives and somehow adopted the basic form, to which I added my own personal touch, ornamented it with diamonds… Nevertheless, the chain remains very classical since I believe that even in jewellery it is not possible to invent something completely new. When the form is beautiful, classical, it is very good.

T: Yesterday you mentioned that in your approach you slightly model yourself on Rolex?

M: The most amazing thing about that brand is the way how prudently and in small steps they perfect their products. Every change is ever so small but causes an entire revolution. I especially admire how consistent they have been in development through all these decades, that’s really incredible.

I say for my brand that it is the middle class of prestige, which is a strong part of the DNA of Marco Bicego. I am also very proud of the fact that we are completely Italian: both in design and production. Everything is made here, in Trissino.

When you see every day what you can make even better, it makes great motivation. You can see your own potential for growth, which takes time and, above all, knowledge.

T: It is clearly noticeable, you have these typical elements, such as yellow gold, the Bulino technique, gold springs, etc.

M: Indeed, and we plan to place the emphasis on that in the future. Our goal is to decrease the number of collections, deepen the existing ones and present them to the world in a better way. Currently, my motto is: reduce the collections and make them better.

T: We’re in this part of Italy for the fair in Vicenza. You haven’t been showing there for a few years now.

M: I believe that for the best results you don’t only need a very good knowledge of the game you play. You have to be in it. In constant connection with jewellery fans, with all stakeholders. It is only then that you truly understand your work. That is why we do not participate at the fair in Vicenza, people don’t have time there. I’ve realised we have to do something more than just go to the fair. Yesterday we took several hours to spend together with your family; we talked about many things; we would simply not have time to do that at the fair. And then the party, I really enjoyed it!

We talked with your father about how we’ve been working together for 22 years now—he started with my father and has been continuing with me for the last 20 years. I find it interesting that the majority of jewellers of your type are family businesses and our collaborations are truly interesting since we always work directly with families. I really like that since it means we work with people who know their business inside and out and are completely committed to it.

T: We all love your energy, you’re always so spirited, you keep bursting with ideas. How do you do that?

M: Primarily it is a reflection of the fact that I work with my heart and passion, which is followed by good results. My first goal is not to sell more, but rather to do what I think is right. If I ever stop feeling a passion for this, I’ll sell the brand and head towards new challenges. Currently, I’m mostly focused on losing some of the unnecessary responsibilities. This gives me more time to travel, to design more and better represent the brand, but above all, I understand the ladies who wear my jewellery. I always try to be realistic and at the same time critical about what I do. I work on the fact that I’m keeping my mind open and pass on my passion for jewellery.

When you see every day what you can make even better, it makes great motivation. You can see your own potential for growth, which takes time and, above all, knowledge.