On Wednesday 20th, in a flurry of typically Romanesque grandeur, the first ever restrospective of work from fêted jeweller Bulgari opened against the backdrop of Rome’s prestigious Palazzo dell Esposizioni.
The show, Between History and Eternity, was unveiled earlier in the evening and was followed by a sparkling dinner at the Castel Sant' Angelo (or the Mausoleum of Hadrian).
See more of the sumptous pieces on show from Bulgari’s treasury archives
The sparkling event was populated by guests including Gina Lollobrigida, a resplendent Chloë Sevigny and several members of Italy’s key dynastic families, including Silvia Venturini Fendi, Santo Versace and Margerita Missoni - providing a suitably decadent tribute to 125 years of timeless jewellery design from the Italian institution.
Founded by Grecian goldsmith Sotaris Boulgaris in 1884, the man behind the brand later altered his name in a fitting nod to his Latin inspired designs. Sotirio Bulgari was born, and Bulgari’s ascendance to jeweller dominance began.
A wide selection of watches, earrings, chokers, bracelets and rings (among many more equally covetable items) are on display at the Palazzo, taken predominantly from Bulgari’s treasury archives - along with an assortment of pieces borrowed from various private owners.
There were of course several stand-out items that dominated proceedings - with pop art inspired pieces including the ice lolly broach and the Buddah Sautoir; scintillating serpent watches with clock faces in the place of fangs, and gilded Gemme Nummarie necklaces (assembled around oversized Roman coins), which caused a stir with their pre-bling brand of ornamental opulence.
Covering eight distinct sections, the exhibition weaves its way through Bulgari’s formative years - with pieces designed by Sotirio himself – through to the art-deco decadence of the 1920’s, concluding with the bold statements that have shaped Bulgari’s past 50 years.
La Collezione Liz Taylor is also on display for the duration, with a selection of obscenely outsized gems that only Dame Taylor herself could readily pull off. Richard Burton, in typically astute style, surmised Taylor's burgeoning passion for Bulgari back in 1963, claiming 'I introduced liz to beer she introduced me to Bvlgari'.
Bringing together some of the most significant moments from the jewellers’ illustrious history, Between History and Eternity is an over-due celebration of the opulent Romanesque stylings that have long defined Bulgari’s unique approach to their art.