Whether learning to freedive for one of her latest films or launching her new jewellery line, the actress, Bond girl – and MO fan – Caterina Murino is unstoppable. Here, we catch up with the Italian star

Caterina Murino's MO fan campaign portrait

Caterina Murino's MO fan campaign portrait

When did you first become interested in jewellery? I began studying gemology 10 years ago at the National Institute of Gemology in Paris – it was a distraction while waiting for the next movie. I discovered I had a passion for jewellery and became fascinated with the history of precious stones. Women love stones for their sparkle and beauty, but I believe they have a magical energy, too.

How did this lead to launching your own line? At first, I wasn't thinking of doing a jewellery line, but I am from Sardinia and the tradition of handmade filigree is dying out. Twenty years ago there were 400 artisans making filigree jewellery, now there are only about nine. I remember one day visiting a jewellery store run by a father and son, and the son saying that his father did not want him to learn the craft because there is no future in it. For my jewellery line, I'm using the same traditional techniques and manufacturing companies, but creating modern designs.

Murino in Kenya for the Stand Up for African Mothers campaign

Murino in Kenya for the Stand Up for African Mothers campaign

Tell us about your jewellery. I have designed 11 collections in total. They include a yellow-gold choker and bracelet that are based on the peony, a typical Sardinian flower. I also use two combinations of stones and colours: one with jade, pink sapphires and white diamonds, the other with red Sardinian coral. In Sardinia, only 15 people are allowed to fish the coral for three months of the year, as unfortunately coral is an endangered species. I've also designed a filigree ring and for each one sold 25 euros goes to the Stand Up for African Mothers campaign, which supports the training of midwives in Africa.

A filigree ring designed for the campaign

A filigree ring designed for the campaign

Why does jewellery play an important role in image? Jewellery is part of what makes an outfit finished. I change the style of my jewellery all the time: one day I wear something classical and sophisticated, another day I opt for girly and natural. I also believe that jewellery tells the story of the country it is from. For example, if you visit the Masai Mara people in Kenya, you not only remember their dress, but also their jewellery. Jewellery can determine a particular period in history or a specific place in the world.

Which countries have been the most memorable to film in? Two years ago I shot Fever, a Bollywood film, and that was huge fun. The film itself was made in Switzerland, but I went to India for the promotional tour and I loved it. I also shot a children's movie called The Invincible Flying Pig in the middle of nowhere in China with local children, which was an incredible experience. When you travel as a tourist it's not the same. I'm lucky that I get to see the world and discover the real culture of a country when I work.

As a Bond girl in Casino Royal

As a Bond girl in Casino Royal

What's the most challenging role you've played? A freediver in forthcoming film Deep. I believe it's one of the best roles of my career. I had to prepare both mentally and physically. I only had one month to get ready, so I had to drastically change my diet, spend six hours a week in the gym, six hours in the pool with a coach, and eight hours of freediving. It was very intense. In the end, I learned to hold my breath for two minutes, at 15 metres deep. For this film, the wildest part of me came out. It's a real journey within, because you are alone in the ocean, linked to cords, and it's against all natural instincts not to breathe. To be able to take a deep breath and dive under, you have to invent a new world for yourself.

Have any other film roles involved such intense physical training? Cantering along a beach in the Bahamas for Casino Royale was difficult for me, because prior to that I had fallen off a horse on another film. When I went to the casting I had a broken bone in my back and could only move my eyes and mouth. As I left, someone asked if I could ride a horse and I thought, are you joking? Never in the history of Bond had there been a horse before. A month later, I began to walk again and then, for the film, I just had to get over my fear and literally get back in the saddle. 

When you're not abroad for work, you live in Paris. What do you love about the French capital? It's the most romantic city in the world. I live in Montmarte and it feels as if I am in a postcard setting every time I step outside the front door. I go back to Sardinia quite often to see my family and even more so now because of my jewellery.

Caterina Murino's jewellery is on display from 15 to 28 January 2017 at the Galerie Charraudeau, 4 rue Bonaparte, Paris; www.charraudeau.com

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