Monday, 7 September 2009

Jewels from Boulgaris to Bulgari

This weekend we went to the Palazzo delle Esposizioni on Via Nazionale in the centre of Rome to view a retrospective of the creations of the famous jeweler Bulgari. The Boulgaris family came to Italy from Epirus in Greece in 1881, they quickly became a well known name for beautiful designs in jewel pieces. On show some 400 million Euros worth of diamonds, sapphires, rubies and other precious gems mounted in platinum or white gold or other precious metals. White and yellow gold Snake bracelets hiding a watch in the mouth of the serpent. Bouquet of flowers brooch made from various coloured gems in cut diamond vases. Rings with huge precious stones, necklaces of pearls and gems, etc... each piece more dazzling than the other.

The exhibit displayed by decade the progression of fashion and changing taste for expensive jewelery, the 1920-30 the 1940-50 and so on. Elizabeth Taylor, Mrs. Revson (Revlon Cosmetics) and Anna Magnani's Estate allowed their personal collection of magnificent necklaces, bracelets, rings and other jewels to be displayed. Amazing what a bunch of little rocks can do and the price they can fetch. Richard Burton use to say that he taught his wife Liz Taylor to drink beer and she taught him how to buy precious jewels for her. Apparently it was a kind of therapy for Liz to receive jewels, the more magnificent the piece, the happier she felt.

Many of Bulgari designs and jewellery pieces appear in movies or commercials of the last 60 years, the exhibit had screens mounted amongst the displays, playing bits of well known movies and commercials focusing on Bulgari jewels worn by models and actresses.

Bulgari today is run by the third generation and is still synonymous with luxury, beauty and extravagance. I only wish I could afford one piece of Bulgari but even a watch is out of price for my budget. One can always dream.


  1. I've always been a fan of gems and minerals and such,and made it a point to see the exhibits at the Smithsonian when I was in D.C.
    Those Bulgari pieces are stunning!

  2. I wouldn't mind finding out, a la Liz, how good some sparklers could make me feel!