Event | Bulgari

NGV International | 30 Sept 2016 – 29 Jan 2017 | Free entry

The V.I.P.s (1963)Directed by Anthony Asquith Shown: Elizabeth Taylor

The V.I.P.s (1963) Directed by Anthony Asquith Shown: Elizabeth Taylor

A spectacular display of jewels from the Bulgari Heritage Collection, including emerald and diamond jewellery from the personal collection of Elizabeth Taylor and a ruby and diamond necklace worn by Sophia Loren, will be showcased in Italian Jewels: Bulgari Style.


Necklace in gold with rubies and diamonds, 1994. Designed as row of cushion-shaped rubies within a frame of baguette and brilliant-cut diamonds in pavé settings supporting a second row of cushion-shaped rubies framed by diamonds and embellished by calibrated cut rubies. The necklace is set with 48 cushion-shaped rubies for a total weight of 59.33 carats. The necklace and the earrings were worn by Sophia Loren in the film Prêt-à-Porter (1994) by Robert Altman


Earrings in gold with rubies and diamonds, 1994. Each of double Creole design, decorated with cushion-shaped and calibrated cut rubies, in a surround of baguette and brilliant-cut diamonds.

Drawn from Bulgari’s remarkable archives, the pieces highlight the Italian design house’s longstanding relationships with stars of Hollywood and Italian cinema, with a focus on the Dolce Vita period of the 50s and 60s when Rome was a popular location for Hollywood films.

The exhibition will feature more than 80 stunning pieces of jewellery alongside film and photography. Tony Ellwood, Director, NGV said: ‘Italian Jewels: Bulgari Style illustrates the bold design aesthetic of Bulgari through a selection of exquisite gems worn by iconic stars such as Elizabeth Taylor and Ingrid Bergman. The exhibition thematically explores design motifs for which the firm is best known – the serpent, ancient coins and striking color combinations, among others.’


“Snake” bracelet-watch in yellow gold with emeralds and diamonds, ca 1965. The coiled body designed as alternate rows of scales decorated respectively with brilliant-cut diamonds and guilloché green enamel, the hinged head, opens to reveal the circular white argentè dial and is set with a cushion-shaped emerald and pear-shaped diamond eyes. Circular gold case; back case with crown winder and applied white gold dart-shaped indexes; logo Jaeger LeCoultre printed in black; white gold sword-shaped hands. On the reverse of the head “BVLGARI” engraved; back case numbered “813070”, near the reverse of the neck “SM 6,62 CTS” engraved for the carat weight of the emerald. Total weight 286,60 grams.


Necklace in two-color gold with diamonds and Florentine Renaissance bronze coin, ca 1978. Designed as a chain of filed curb linking, at the centre a shield-shaped motif decorated with a fleur de lys pavé-set with brilliant-cut diamonds and a Testoon of Alexander de Medici. Marks: on the reverse of the clasp: “BVLGARI / ? ITALY”; on the security catch numbered: “570”; on the tonguepiece “750”; hexagonal frame with addorsed “BB” monogram; the reverse of the coin bezel: ” – ALEXANDER OF MEDICI FLORENCE 1521. 1537. TESTOON – MOULD BY BENVENUTO CELLINI – ” engraved.


“Bib” necklace in gold with emeralds, amethysts, turquoises and diamonds, 1965. The necklace, in the form of an articulated bib, is decorated with teardrop motifs set with 84 turquoises: ca. 38 carats (total), 37 cabochon emeralds for a total of ca. 72 carats , 27 amethysts: ca. 77 carats (total) and 937 brilliant-cut diamonds: ca. 57 carats (total), mounted in 18 kt gold; the matching pendent earclips are of cascade design, all items mounted in 18 kt gold. Formerly in the collection of Lyn Revson. This necklace is the object of a special edition of 3,500,000 stamps – the “Made in Italy” series – issued by the Poste Italiane to celebrate the Bulgari’s 125th anniversary. Marks: on the reverse of the clasp: “BVLGARI” engraved; on the tongue-piece: hexagonal frame with addorsed “BB” monogram; lozenge with “750”; on the side of the mount: two “eagle’s head”.

Lucia Boscaini, Bulgari Brand and Heritage Curator, remarked: ‘Spanning from the 1930s until today, the works illustrate a strong design heritage and aesthetic evolution, deeply entrenched in Italian history and artisanal traditions. Italian Jewels: Bulgari Style showcases the glamour of a Golden Age of cinema and design, and represents Bulgari’s constant experimentation and inimitable aesthetic codes.’

Highlights include jewels presented to Taylor by her paramour and fifth husband Richard Burton, including an emerald ring he gifted when their love affair first began in Rome on the set of Cleopatra (1963). Bulgari creations favoured by leading women such as Grace Kelly, Anita Ekberg and Gina Lollobrigida will also be showcased, as well as stunning jewels worn on the red carpet by Hollywood stars including Keira Knightley.


Necklace in platinum with emeralds and diamonds, 1962. Magnificent necklace in platinum and emeralds of 1962. It is mounted with 16 step-cut octagonal Colombian emeralds for an estimated total of 60.50 carats, each in a surround of brilliant-cut and pear-shaped diamonds. Taylor received it as a wedding gift from her husband Richard Burton in 1964. The pendent element with the step-cut Colombian emerald of 23.44 carats, created by Bulgari in 1958 as a brooch, was given to Elizabeth Taylor by Burton for their engagement in 1962 and worn by the actress in their wedding day in 1964. The actress was then immortalized in the necklace in 1966, when she received the Oscar as best actress. Marks: on the reverse of the clasp: “BVLGARI” engraved.


Ring in platinum with emerald and diamonds, 1961. Ring in platinum with a step-cut octagonal emerald of ca. 7.40 carats; the 12 pear-shaped diamonds have a total weight of ca. 5.30 carats. Created by Bulgari in 1962, it was the first jewel that Elizabeth Taylor received from Richard Burton in Rome during the filming of Cleopatra, when their “scandalous” love story started. From then on, the stellar couple visited the Bulgari store very frequently, because Richard Burton used any and every occasion to give her a jewel. Once the actress told that she felt she was the custodian of her jewels, watching over them and loving them. Jewels were a source of pure happiness for her and she adored wearing them, because she could then share with others their magic powers of joy and excitement. The actress sold it in 2002 at a charity auction for “The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation” and in a letter addressed to the new owners, Taylor wrote “Wear it with love!”. Marks: inside the shank: numbered 358-50.


“Tremblant” brooch in platinum with emeralds and diamonds, 1960. The brooch was probably given to Elizabeth Taylor by Eddie Fischer, her husband at the time and was worn both as a brooch and hair ornament. On the “tremblant”pieces, flowerheads are mounted on spring settings which allow them to flicker at every movement, thus marvelously radiating their light. Since the 18°  century, realistic floral motifs had been a constant theme in French jewellery. In the early 1960s, Bulgari rivalled the finest Parisian jewellers in creating these asymmetrical sprays. Marks: on the clip mechanism: mark (illegible legible); “DEPOSÉ”.

Other highlights include delicate tremblant brooches, so called because of small springs in the jewellery designs which create a quivering effect, such as a floral hair piece worn by Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman when she starred in The Visit (1964). Sautoirs from the 1970s and pieces featuring cabochon cut gems in chromatic combinations will also convey Bulgari’s unique style.


“Tremblant” brooch in platinum with diamonds, 1958. The brooch is set with baguette, brilliant- and navette cut diamonds, the flower-head clusters are ‘en tremblant’, mounted 18 kt white gold and platinum. The brooch is mounted with 216 diamonds of various shapes and cuts for a total estimated weight of 46.5 carats Marks: on the rim of the mount (stem): “BVLGARI” engraved; two rectangular marks with “philosopher head”; on the pin: “OR”; oval with “owl”.


“Tremblant” brooch in platinum with fancy yellow diamonds and diamonds, 1960. The brooch is set with 267 colourless diamonds and variously shaped coloured diamonds ranging from golden yellow to cognac hues, mounted in platinum.Marks: on the clip mechanism: “BVLGARI” engraved; on the prongs: “OR / 750 / P”.

The story of Bulgari stretches back more than a century, when Greek silversmith Sotirio Bulgari came to Rome to seek his fortune, opening his first shop in 1884. From humble beginnings, Bulgari rose to become an emblem of Italian excellence and creativity, favoured by royalty, actresses and high society alike. Drawing inspiration from its Greek and Roman heritage, Bulgari has forged a distinct style that combines tradition and innovation.


“Playing Card” sautoir in gold with coral, mother-of-pearl, onyx and diamonds, 1972. Designed as a chain of oval links, each inset at the centre with a spade motif respectively in red coral, mother-of-pearl and onyx, the front suspending an oval coral pendant depicting a the king in the guise of French playing cards with an onyx spade motif as crown. Marks: Chain: on the reverse of the mount (penultimate link): “BULGARI” engraved; on the clasp and on the rim of the mount: four ovals with “owl”; on the rim of the mount (penultimate link): lozenge with “square / P / & / Fils”; polygon with “square / P & Fils / 18K”. Pendant: on the rim of the mount: oval with “owl”; on the reverse of the mount, at the centre: polygon with ” square / P & Fils / 18K. Bracelet: on the reverse of the mount (penultimate link): “BULGARI” engraved; on the clasp: oval with “owl”; lozenge with “square / P / & / Fils”; polygon (partially legible) with ” ? / s / K”; on the rim of the mount (end link): lozenge with “square / P / & / Fils”; polygon with “square / P & Fils / 18K”.


Bracelet in gold with sapphires and diamonds, 1960. Designed as an articulated band composed of oval cabochon and facetted sapphires of light and dark hues, highlighted by brilliant-cut diamonds. Marks: Bracelet: on the reverse of the clasp: “BVLGARI” engraved.


Bracelets in platinum with diamonds, respectively 1955 and 1959. Designed as a succession of nine bombé oval shaped motifs, each with a brilliant-cut diamond at the centre within a surround of pave-set stones, and connect by arch-shaped links set with baguette diamonds. Formerly in the collection of Ellen Barkin Marks: on the reverse of an oval element, on an applied plaque: “BVLGARI” stamped; hexagonal frame with addorsed “BB” monogram; “Pt 950″; polygon with ” Pt 950″; on the tonguepiece: “eagle’s head”; four “dog’s head”; “OR”; “R / star / S”; on the reverse of the clasp: numbered “1”.


Necklace in gold and platinum with rubies, emeralds, sapphires and diamonds, ca 1959. The front formed of a succession of diamond-set V-shaped motifs supporting a fringe of cabochon emeralds, rubies and sapphires and brilliant-cut diamonds, the back is designed as line of further cabochon emeralds, rubies and sapphires. Unmarked.


“Melone” evening bag in gold with sapphire, 1972. The polished and fluted oval case with cabochon sapphire thumbpiece, opening to reveal a fitted mirror, suspended on a golden colour silk cord terminating with a tassel. The interior is fitted with an oval mirror. With a golden coloured silk cord and tassel. Marks: on the rim (interior): “BVLGARI” stamped; lozenge with “750”.


Necklace in gold with emerald, amethysts, rubies and diamonds, 1989. Designed as a tapering articulated band decorated with foliate motifs set with cabochon amethysts highlighted by channel-set calibré cut rubies and baguette diamonds, the centre collet-set with an oval cabochon emerald. The cabochon Colombian emerald weighs 41.14 carats. Marks: on the reverse of the security catch: “BVLGARI” engraved; on the tongue-piece: hexagonal frame with addorsed “BB” monogram; heptagon with “head of Saint Bernard dog”; on the reverse of the bezel, at the centre: “BVLGARI” engraved; “41.14 cts” engraved for the carat weight of the emerald.


“Melone” evening bag in gold and burnished steel with diamonds, ca 1972. The polished gold case inset with burnished steel forming a geometrical pattern, the thumbpiece set with circular-cut diamonds, opening to real suspended on a black silk cord terminating with a tassel. Formerly in the collection of Lyn Revson With a blue silk cord and tassel. Marks: on the hinged polygonal suspension loop: “BVLGARI” stamped; on the rim (interior): numbered “637”; lozenge with “750 “; shaped mark with CIF”.


Sautoir in gold with yellow and blue sapphires, agate, citrines and diamonds, ca 1972. The sautoir is designed as a gold chain of filed curb linking decorated at intervals with oval elements alternatively set with cabochon sapphires and citrines, the front supports a circular pendant set at the centre with a cushion-shaped yellow sapphire within a border of brilliant-cut diamonds, shaped banded blue agate, four cabochon sapphires and brilliant-cut diamonds, the pendant may be detached and worn separately as a brooch. Pendant engraved: BVLGARI 750 (in a lozenge). Chain stamped on the clasp: BVLGARI 750. NB clip fitting on the clasp.


Necklace in gold with emeralds, rubies, sapphires and diamonds, 1967. The front decorated with 10 large floral clusters set with 25 cabochon sapphires for a total of ca. 67 carats; 71 cabochon emeralds ca. 48 carats (total); 88 cabochon rubies ca. 75 carats (total); 348 brilliant-cut diamonds ca. 22.5 carats (total). The back formed of similarly set foliate motifs. Marks: on the tongue-piece: “BVLGARI” engraved; inside the clasp: “750”; “eagle’s head”; “SC”; lozenge with “R / star / D /”.

Italian Jewels: Bulgari Style will be on display at NGV International from 30 September 2016 – 29 January 2017. Open daily, 10am-5pm. Entry is free.

Organised by the National Gallery of Victoria in collaboration with Bulgari Heritage.


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