Elizabeth Taylor’s exquisite emeralds dazzle in a display of Bulgari jewels that graced movie stars during Rome’s La Dolce Vita period in the 50s and 60s.
Monday-Sunday 10am-5pm; closed Christmas Day. Free entry.
Rome and Bulgari forged a fortuitous powerhouse in post-war cinema as directors flocked to the Italian capital and their leading women followed suit, exploring fabulous jewellery both on and off-screen. Italian Jewels: Bulgari Style showcases more than 80 creations, including those from the Bulgari Heritage Collection, as well as inclusions from private collections and the National Museum of Qatar. The emerald ring that Richard Burton gave Elizabeth Taylor when their love affair first began on the Rome set of Cleopatra in 1963 is a stand-out among eight pieces that once belonged to the actress and were bought at auction by Bulgari in 2011 for about 35 million Euros.
Bold jewels are centre stage at this exhibition helmed by Lucia Boscaini, Bulgari Brand and Heritage Curator, with the jewellery house’s favoured motifs (the serpenti, ancient coins and vibrant coloured gemstones) all holding sway, but the intentionally darkened show floor’s display of film and photography of icons like Sophia Loren, Ingrid Bergman, Grace Kelly, Claudia Cardinale, Gina Lollobrigida, and Anita Ekberg bewitch the visitor too.
Delicate en tremblant brooch floral hair pieces reveal intricate craftsmanship from a time when the complete length of a screen goddess’ costuming was given exacting consideration. The glamorous legacy of the Golden Age of cinema is undeniable but there are also some creations from the 1930s and the 1970s, and the 1960s necklace a more recent beauty, Keira Knightley, wore to 78th annual Academy Awards in 2006, providing a chance to observe the design evolution of the house.
By Melissa Pearce
It’s hard to compete with the impact of Taylor’s suite of beloved, out-size emeralds but don’t neglect to contemplate a necklace in the exhibition section that demonstrates Bulgari’s unique use of colour and gem combinations. The label simply says it is from a private collection in the US but its iridescent emeralds, sapphires and rubies dance in front of the eyes, demanding the viewer’s attention.