Monica Bellucci on Simple Pleasures, Statement Diamonds and the Style Lessons She Gives Her Daughters
Monica Bellucci is an unintentional jewelry expert. The cinema icon’s red-carpet wardrobe has always relied on bejeweled wearable art. Over the years, she’s graced events like the Cannes Film Festival and BAFTA Awards in museum-worthy gems. Now, Bellucci takes her interest in the art form a step further by joining Cartier for brand’s latest endeavor, a globe traversing project by director Charlote Wales.
Belluci serves as the film’s grand dame opposite stars like Lily Collins, Troye Sivan, and Maisie Williams. Though she sports a new version of the iconic Cartier high jewelry crocodile originally designed for Mexican actress María Félix in 1975 in Wales’s film, Bellucci readily admits that what draws her to a piece is less about carats than connection. “Sometimes it’s just about a personal moment,” she shared on the phone from Paris. “Yes, all the diamonds are beautiful, but I also have a simple garnet ring I wear all the time because it was given to me by my grandmother, and it has such sentimental meaning for me.”
Bellucci credits her mother and grandmother with inspiring her appreciation for style. “The women in my family taught me that we have the right to love ourselves and create space for our pleasure,” she says. “That [care] is the ultimate expression of our femininity, one that reflects not only in our fashion and jewelry but also in the way we treat ourselves.” She’s passed down such lessons to her daughters, 17-year-old Deva and 11-year-old Léonie. “They understand that you have to love and respect who you are, make time for things that are solely for your benefit and not [intended] to please anyone else,” Bellucci says.
For Bellucci, jewelry serves as a final, personal touch that completes a look. As such, she gravitates towards statement pieces with exciting backstories and innate power. “They say each stone has its own energy,” she says. “So, when you wear these pieces of art, you’re in touch with that. It’s always fascinating to go to the Cartier atelier and see the artisans at work, because it allows you to appreciate the experience even more. You see the precision, the artistry, and love that happens behind the jewels.” Sometimes, the final choice comes down to instinct. “You feel it,” explains Bellucci. “There is this extra something you can’t quite explain that draws you in. Selection isn’t always about what is the most important or expensive piece; it is about how what you wear encapsulates that moment in time.”
Case in point: Bellucci’s repeat use of the interlocking crocodile motif at the Cannes Film Festival. Back in 2006, she celebrated her first time on the main competition jury by wearing Félix’s 18-karat yellow gold and brilliant cut yellow diamond original to the premiere of Indigénes. Eleven years later, she’d revisit the design while hosting the opening ceremony, this time in 18-karat white gold and 66.86 karats of Colombian emeralds. “Those crocodiles were amazing—talk about beautiful diamonds—but they’re also attached to those experiences at Cannes. It all goes together,” she says. “When you’re wearing a piece like that, you feel a certain responsibility. It’s such a pleasure to wear them, but they don’t belong to me, which is actually better because I get to try so many different options.”
Attention-grabbing stones never lose their sparkle, but lately, Bellucci finds herself gravitating towards minimalist accessories. “Like everyone else, I love diamonds, rubies, and sapphires, but there are times when it’s elegant to have something straightforward,” she says. “It gives you a different feeling than when you’re wearing the giant diamonds.” Simplicity also serves as a rule of thumb for the pieces Bellucci has given to her daughters. “When they’re good in school or have a birthday, I like to get them a little present,” she says. “I choose simpler pieces because they’re so young. The [jewelry] doesn’t need to be expensive. It’s more so they can mark those moments and create a new memory.”
Upbeat nostalgia is key to Wales’s film, in which Bellucci and a host of stars sing along to Roger Glover & Guest’s peppy 1974 pop hit, ‘Love Is All,’ while decked out in Cartier. Filmed on location in Paris, Shanghai, and Los Angeles, the project’s message of unity resonated with the star. “I had so much fun filming,” says Bellucci. “The campaign is incredibly elegant, and it’s a pleasure to celebrate love, passion, and energy with so many people from all over the world.” After two years of travel restrictions, closed borders, and post-COVID adjustments, uniting a global cast for a tribute to happiness was meaningful in itself. “We’re in a special moment, and right now, what we need more than anything is all the love, positivity, and humanity possible,” says Bellucci. “All that’s happened has been difficult, but we’ve come to appreciate the simple things in our lives: time for ourselves, our families, and the people we love. It’s wonderful to be able to honor that with such a joyful project.”