We talked with the 46-year-old icon about sports, diamonds and dreams

Italian jewelry designer Marco Bicego has, indeed, created a beautiful life for himself-and beautiful pieces for women around the globe. He visited Saks Fifth Avenue at Polaris Fashion Place in October to debut his newest collection, XII for XII, which includes 12 pieces to celebrate his 12th year of selling at Saks. We talked with the 46-year-old icon about sports, diamonds and dreams.

You live in Vicenza, about 45 minutes outside of Venice. Tell us about it.

We are happy. We live in a small town. Everything is easy. I like to combine the small-town life and the global experience.

It's actually the same place where you grew up, dated your wife in high school and are now raising your three kids-15, 12 and 11.

Italy has a mentality: We want to always have family around-parents, friends. Everybody knows each other.

You learned jewelry making from your father, and then revamped the company he created, taking it global.

Marco Bicego as a brand was born in 2000. I knew making the best jewelry was not enough. You need distribution, marketing. You need to evolve.

What did your father think?

He's a really special character. [laughing] At the beginning of the adventure, it was tough years. He's the founder. Before I changed almost everything in the company, business was going well. My father said, "What are you doing? You are crazy."

And now?

He's very happy.

What do you love about your work?

To see that you can make something that a woman can like and appreciate-it brings satisfaction.

What's your wife's favorite piece?

Unfortunately she loves diamonds. [laughing] Marco Bicego is not really in the diamond business; we're in the gold business. Honestly, she doesn't like everything I make. But the last thing that I made for her were big earrings with aquamarine. She likes those.

You love food. Do you cook?

I can cook! I like simplicity. You can have something easy to cook-a nice prosciutto with a nice cheese and a bottle of wine. Or pasta with olive oil, a little garlic and tomatoes. You cook it for five minutes, put parmesan on top-for me, those are the great things. I prefer more natural and easy.

What inspires you?

I believe in a high quality of life. I believe in working hard, but at the same time, I need to have time for my life. I love to be outside playing sports, taking vacations. When you have all of these things together, you have good ideas. Everything is about how you live, how you feel. In September, I just spent a day picking mushrooms. In the evening, we called friends and had a great pasta dinner. When you can pick and eat in the same day, the quality is unique. There is no price for something like that.

What's your next dream?

I'd like to one day open a restaurant.

What will be your signature dish?

It could be bigoli with ragu. It's a handmade pasta, with a meat sauce that's 30 percent liver and 70 percent cow. It could be the best dish.