Bulgari at the Biennale 2012
Bulgari, the Italian jeweller, makes its first appearance at the
Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris with a collection that is
Bulgari, through and through. Colours sing out, cabochons cascade
and an emerald and turquoise serpent slithers, not once, but twice
around the neck. Even Elizabeth Taylor is present in a collection
of jewels inspired by the diva herself. This is pure Bulgari and to
make sure we don't forget their Italian origins, the booth mimicked
the via Condotti flagship store complete with marble floors,
sweeping archways and Modigliani inspired busts.
The style of this 125 year old jeweller, that epitomises Italian
luxury jewellery is unmistakable. Lusty ripe drops of mandarine
garnets nestle alongside clusters of creamy baroque pearls
interspersed with jungle-green emeralds. This unexpected mix of
colours and semiprecious and precious stones in generous quantities
make for strong statements in bold dimensions. Yet because of their
flexibility and movement including tassels of beads, swaying drops
and ropes of soft cabochons a statement Bulgari necklace sits
easily on the body. These jewels are made for wearing and enjoying,
preferably with big sunglasses and a summer dress, drinking
prosecco in the bright summer sun in a piazza in Naples.
The highlight of this year is an emerald and turquoise 'Serpent'
necklace. The serpent is an ancient symbol of wisdom and
inmortality and has been present in Bulgari collections since the
1940's. The necklace is so long it can be worn in several ways,
including around the waist. More than 100 emerald beads are
alternated with turqouise roundels all generously studded with
diamonds. Should this slinky snake appeal, you will need some 8
million euros to make it yours to wrap around your neck.
The Elizabeth Taylor collection reminds us of the actress' love
of Bulgari and on display were pieces bought for her by her
admirers including, of course, Richard Burton. It was on the set of
'Cleopatra' filmed in Cinecitta in Rome that Elizabth Taylor met
Richard Burton and their nascent love affair was marked by a visit
to the via Condotti boutique to buy tokens of love. Richard
Burton famously remarked of his 1963 visit to the Condotti shop to
buy Elizabeth Taylor a ring: "I introduced her to beer, and she
introduced me to Bulgari."
As well as these pieces acquired by Bulgari at the auction of
the estate of Elizabeth Taylor in 2010, three new hugely
extravagant jewels have been made, each one worthy of the diva
herself. The main attraction features a 165 carat sapphire that
contrasts with the soft, irregular forms of thick ropes of pink
rubelites, mandarine garnets and emeralds.
The Mediterranean Eden series brings to mind the green and blue
colours of the coast of Italy and the sensuality and pleasure of
the sun and warm waters and summer flowers. Mother of pearl,
turqouise and diamonds bloom in this idyll and sun-warmed flashes
of precious and semi-precious stones tumble across the
Seeing these jewels confirms that Bulgari does glamour and
dolce vita like no one else and an air of seductive and infectious
indulgence shines out from its creatinos.