THE HOUSE OF BULGARI
This year, 2014, marks the 130th year of Bulgari, a name emblematic of Italian excellence. Emboldened by 2,700 years of Roman history, Bulgari honors its rich past with modern designs. Known for stylistic audacity and a penchant for color, Bulgari pieces are immediately recognizable. Designing with the sensuality of volume, a love of linearity and a reverence for the art and architecture of Bulgari’s Greek and Roman roots, these iconic features are found in each of Bulgari’s creations. Harmonized with Rome’s ancient history, Bulgari incorporates the city’s symbolism while innovating its design for the future. Classic yet contemporary, Bulgari upholds its 130-year legacy with a timeless sense of exquisite beauty.
Originating in Rome, Bulgari was founded as a jewelry shop in 1884 by Greek silversmith Sotirio Bulgari. With passionate skill and vision, he set the stage for Bulgari to become a permanent emblem of Italian excellence. For the 130 years thereafter, Bulgari’s ceaseless creativity, formidable history of innovation and a bold pioneering spirit led the jewelry House to become a legend.
Bulgari is a name that has become synonymous with artisanal craftsmanship, avant-garde materials and unrivalled design. The Eternal City’s architectural beauty has long inspired the Italian jeweler: Bulgari reinterprets the majestic symbols of Rome with extraordinary editions of jewelry, watches, accessories and perfumes.
To honor its ancient Roman past, Bulgari integrated the original Latin “v,” an epigraph of the family name, engraving it above its flagship store in the grand renovation of 1934. Bulgari’s Roman address on the prestigious Via dei Condotti, leading up to the Spanish Steps, became both its home and source of inspiration. Rome remains the aesthetic reference for Bulgari, as it boasts a spectacular architectural backdrop.
With an unmatched vision of luxury, Bulgari’s origins at the Via dei Condotti flagship store hosted an international elite of artists, writers and actors during the ‘Dolce Vita’ years – the 1950s-60s – leading to Bulgari’s diversified presence today. The brand came to the attention of the global elite and hosted movie stars such as Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn, who engaged in passionate affairs with Bulgari jewels. Immediately recognizable for their powerful opulence, rich colors and sense of volume, Bulgari jewels soon became renowned among local bourgeois as well as the international high-society set.
Bulgari developed an overseas presence in the 1970s. It also began to expand the company vision, diversifying into the world of watchmaking and launching the now-iconic “BVLGARI∙BVLGARI” watch in 1975. The coveted watch was just the first of many, and in 1980 Bulgari founded the company Bulgari Time, in the watchmaking capital of Switzerland.
In 1993, Bulgari further diversified with the introduction of its first fragrance, Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert, establishing Bulgari Parfums in Switzerland. In 1996, Bulgari launched its highly successful collections of cosmopolitan accessories. In 2000, Bulgari Time’s capacities grew with the acquisition of specialized luxury watchmakers; Bulgari had thus evolved into a world-class watch manufacturer. With its unmatched standard for lavish lifestyle, the Bulgari Group expanded its vision to hotels and resorts, featuring contemporary luxury in the prestigious locations of Milan, Bali and London via exclusive design. In 2011, Bulgari was acquired by the luxury group LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton), only enriching its potential.
Bulgari designs are nourished by deep Roman roots, entrenched in an inspired past. Honoring history, refined Greek and Roman motifs recall the art and architecture of Bulgari’s origins. Proudly representing the exquisite nature that is Italy, the Bulgari name has become synonymous with brilliant color, symbolic storytelling and unrivaled craftsmanship for 130 years. In all things Bulgari, magnificent luxury is key.
Color is often one of the most recognizable and iconic features of a Bulgari creation. Deviating from the traditional, diamond-based Parisian school of jewelry, Bulgari developed a bold and unprecedented style, exploring unusual color combinations such as rubies, emeralds and sapphires of the entire palette. Jewelry came alive in a rainbow of color combinations. The fine Italian jeweler has established itself as the master of colored gemstones in its High Jewelry pieces. An established expert in diamond design, Bulgari creations have always featured the finest diamonds since the 1920s. In the following decades, Bulgari gradually began adding precious, rare colored gems to complement its pieces. In the 1950s, Italy became the design center of Europe and Bulgari took the color revolution to the next level.
Deviating from the traditional, diamond-based Parisian school of jewelry, Bulgari developed a bold and unprecedented style, exploring unusual color combinations such as rubies and emeralds, and sapphires of the entire palette. Jewelry came alive in a rainbow of color combinations. Further invention built upon the classic asymmetrical motif and traditional cut – Bulgari designed with symmetrical, compact shapes and reintroduced the use of the cabochon cut for prominent, high-quality gemstones.
This shape for large gemstones dates back to antiquity but had since fallen out of custom; today it has become a Bulgari trademark. A cabochon-cut gem is ideal to convey a sense of volume, luminosity and contrast with the surrounding faceted diamonds, and serves to highlight a stone’s aesthetic potential. With similar foresight, contemporary Bulgari designs have also featured the ancient mogul or takhti cut, allowing an egg-shaped luminescence that can be difficult to achieve, but has a dramatically smooth result. The beauty within the stone – what truly makes them one-of-a-kind – is at the heart of every Bulgari design.