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How This $7 Million Gem-Studded Handbag Will Actually Help Clean Up the Ocean

The design includes 130 carats of precious stones.

Boarini Milanesi $7 million bag Boarini Milanesi

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to rage across much of the globe, but beyond its devastating human impact, it is also having a considerably harmful environmental one. Between masks, face shields, gloves and more, our means of protection are also producing tremendous waste. One handbag maker is hoping to do its part to reverse the plastic tide.

Italian label Boarini Milanesi––cofounded by Carolina Boarini and Matteo Rodolfo Milanesi––is launching a $7 million bag to raise awareness about ocean health and the threat of plastic pollution. The style, the most expensive ever produced, will see $950,000 of its purchase price go directly to ocean cleanup.

For Milanesi, the cause is a personal one. Having grown up near the ocean, he has strong memories of his father cleaning up detritus on the beach and going so far as to dive to collect submerged plastic bags and bottles. “Recently, I have seen even more plastic in the sea than when I was a child, due to the pandemic and all the gloves and face masks that are being carelessly thrown away,” he said in a statement.

Boarini Milanesi $7 million bag

A brand artisan carefully cuts into a piece of exotic skin.  Boarini Milanesi

The eye-watering cost is more than a means of garnering media attention for the cause––although it does manage to do that as well––but also a reflection of the premium materials used to handcraft the style over a painstaking 1,000 hours. Constructed from semi-shiny alligator skin, it has a rectangular silhouette fixed with 10 white gold butterflies encrusted with diamonds, sapphires and Paraiba tourmalines totaling over 130 carats.

Other than their ability to dazzle, the precious stones were selected for very specific reasons, according to Boarini. “Blue sapphires represent the depths of the oceans, Paraiba tourmaline reminds us of the uncontaminated Caribbean seas and diamonds refer to the transparency of water when it falls in the form of rain.”

Only three examples of the exclusive model will be produced, all of them made in the maison’s atelier outside of Bologna.

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