Sumptuous curves and colours bring a slice of la dolce vita to our jewellery boxes
This Roman jewellery house has excelled in creating a style that is recognisable as uniquely Bulgari: bright and beautiful coloured gemstones cut as rounded cabochons paired with curved gold shapes in bold jewels.
Greek silversmith Sotirio Bulgari founded his workshop in Rome in 1884 and laid the groundwork for further Bulgari generations to develop the family’s connection to fine jewellery. Though Sotirio focused less on jewellery and more on silver ornaments for British tourists, his offering established Bulgari as a go-to destination in Rome. Following their father into business, Giorgio and Costantino Bulgari pushed the business to focus on luxury jewellery.
The house’s designers of the 1920s and 1930s established the firm’s use of fine materials and high design with jewels of platinum and diamonds set in the fashionable Art Deco Motifs. However, the house’s signature style really came to prominence in the 1940s. With a shift to yellow gold and the birth of the Serpenti, Bulgari’s designers brought its Italian homeland and heritage to the core of its jewellery and its brand.
From the 1950s to the present day, Bulgari has curated its collections to draw on its Roman roots, from the bright cabochon gemstones that mimic the domes of Rome’s rooftops, to stone cuts and settings inspired by the shapes of the Pantheon’s ceiling and the tessellating shapes of ancient Roman mosaics. It is therefore no surprise that Bulgari’s combination of jewel colours and warm yellow gold has drawn the attention of some of the world’s most discerning jewellery afficionados, all looking for a Mediterranean splash of sunny light and colour. Elizabeth Taylor especially warmed to Bulgari and owned many of their iconic creations, particularly a sapphire- and diamond-set sautoir.
Bulgari continues to make wearable jewellery, advocating for a mix of materials and adaptable jewels with interchangeable silk cords of different colours that take the wearer from day to night. Not only do they continue to draw on their Roman roots, but they also support restoration and conservation projects in their home city to ensure that their inspiration continues to be available for their designers and for us all.