Skip to content

Bvlgari History

Founded in Rome in 1884 by the talented Greek silversmith Sotirio Bulgari, the brand quickly established a reputation for Italian excellence with exquisite craftsmanship and magnificent jewelry creations.
Over the decades, the Bulgari family defined a distinctive style made of vibrant color combinations, exquisitely balanced volumes and unmistakable motifs that pay homage to the Roman roots of the company.
Throughout the years while always revering its Roman heritage, the brand introduced innovations that rewrote the rules of the jewelry universe and started new trends that stood out as icons of contemporary design.

FROM SILVER TO GOLD


The exquisite silver ornaments forged by Sotirio Bulgari were greatly appreciated by English visitors coming to Rome for the traditional Grand Tour and made the business thrive.
The original Bvlgari store was opened on Via Sistina. Soon after new shops were opened on Via Condotti and in other tourist destinations.
When Sotirio’s sons Giorgio and Costantino joined him in the business, they suggested that the family business focus on high jewelry in order to grow.

The early high jewelry creations of the 1920s reflected the design of traditional French school, incorporating platinum and diamonds with geometric and stylized Art Déco design.
From the 1940s onwards, the genuine Italian Bvlgari style started to emerge, embracing the sunny shades of yellow gold and the sinuous coils of the Serpenti creations. 

Model Amanda Wellsh wearing a selection of Bvlgari creations

Model Amanda Wellsh wearing a selection of Bvlgari creations from the 30s. Photo: © Gian Paolo Barbieri, 2016

Necklace / tiara combination in platinum with diamonds

Necklace/tiara combination in platinum with diamonds, 1935.
A typical convertible creation from the 1930s, the necklace may be worn also as tiara when secured to an appropriate mount. The use of large, round brilliant-cut diamonds was a characteristic that made Bvlgari stand out in the period. Paired with baguette-cut diamonds, they gave extra sparkle to the creation with a sumptuousness that will be fully explored in the decades to come.

Model Amanda Wellsh wearing a selection of Bvlgari creations

Model Amanda Wellsh wearing a selection of Bvlgari creations from the 30s. Photo: © Gian Paolo Barbieri, 2016

Convertible necklace in platinum with diamonds

Convertible necklace in platinum with diamonds, 1938.
A stunning example of convertible necklace from the 1930s, the necklace could be divided in smaller elements, which, when mounted on appropriate fittings, formed different jewels: the sides could be worn as two bracelets and as two dress clips while the central pendant could be mounted on a bangle.

Model wearing a selection of Bvlgari creations

Model wearing a selection of Bvlgari creations from the 40s and 50s. Photo: © Stefano Galuzzi, 2015.

Bracelet in gold

Bracelet in gold, 1942.
The difficult economic conditions due to World War II implied a very limited production of jewels with precious stones and more focus on design, adopting softer lines inspired by nature.

DARING COLORS AND ECLECTIC FLAIR


By the mid-1950s, Bvlgari took a step further by introducing daring chromatic combinations of precious stones and colored stones.
Recalling the domes of Roman landscapes, the cabochon became a symbol of the brand to glorify the vivid color of gems.

With the flourishing Dolce Vita era, the store on Via Condotti became one of the favorite meeting places for movie stars and socialites, thus amplifying the international fame of the brand. Riding a wave of success, in the early 1970s the company expanded to Europe and the United States.
The Bulgari brothers of the third generation infused a new creative boost with unrestrained inspirations, ranging from Far East to Pop Art, catering to the taste of modern and dynamic women.
From their pioneering vision, the BVLGARI BVLGARI watch became an instant classic and an unprecedented design statement.

Necklace in gold with emerald, rubies and diamonds

Necklace in gold with emerald, rubies and diamonds, 1969.
The detachable octagonal pendant can be worn as a brooch and is set with a 44.60 cts. cabochon emerald in a frame of rubies and brilliant-cut diamonds. The geometric shape is an hallmark of the Bvlgari style, inspired by the monuments and decorative motifs of the Eternal City.

Necklace with amethysts, diamonds and green enamel

Necklace with amethysts, diamonds and green enamel, 1971.
The sautoir is composed of twenty-four sections in the shape of stylized elephants, lined with the muzzle against the back, to form a decoratively ordered and symmetrical line. Along the sides of each figure two geometric amethysts are set in bezels, while the upper parts are decorated with green enamels. At the sautoir is applied an elephant-shaped pendant that can be worn separately as a brooch. The jewel reflects the mood for esotism and dreams of escapism of the 1970s, with Indian evocations massively influencing fashion and design.

Sautoir in gold with coral and diamonds

Sautoir in gold with coral and diamonds, 1971.
The sautoir is designed as a chain of gold and coral links supporting a central coral disk decorated with gold flame-like motifs randomly encrusted with brilliant-cut diamonds. The emphasis on round shapes is an hallmark of the Bvlgari style distilled over the decades.

Sautoir in gold with yellow and blue sapphires, agate, citrines and diamonds

Sautoir in gold with yellow and blue sapphires, agate, citrines and diamonds, 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 pendant mounts a cushion-shaped yellow sapphire, four cabochon sapphires on borders of blue agate. The motif of elliptical concentric shapes was in tune with the experimentations of optical art of the 1970s and with Bvlgari's research on round, harmonious shapes.

Sautoir in gold with rhodonite, rubellites, sapphires and diamonds

Sautoir in gold with rhodonite, rubellites, sapphires and diamonds, 1972.
Designed as a stylized four-petal flower, the necklace has a detachable pendant that can be worn as a brooch. Sautoirs with an elongated chain and sumptuous pendants perfectly resonated with the "maxi" fashion of the 1970s characterized by colorful pajama trousers and exotic caftans.

MODULAR JEWELS AND UNCONVENTIONAL MATERIALS


In the 1980s and 1990s, Bvlgari kept innovating and launched distinctive, versatile jewels designed to be worn from morning to evening.
Modular jewelry was the answer to every woman’s need: a single bold design to be replicated and offered in a wide range of precious stones, from hematite to coral to diamond pave.

Unconventional materials were incorporated with unrestrained creativity to jewels and watches, reaching new pinnacles of sophistication: steel, porcelain, silk and wood pushed the boundaries of luxury, giving life to creations that were as pleasant to be seen as to be touched, and felt like a second skin.

Model wearing a selection of Bvlgari creations

Model wearing a selection of Bvlgari creations from the 90s. Photo: © Stefano Galuzzi, 2015.

Chandra rings in gold with porcelain and amethyst/citrine, 90s.

Chandra rings in gold with porcelain and amethyst/citrine, 90s.
Bombé-shaped white porcelain ring decorated with stylized petal motifs and set with a cabochon amethyst or citrine.

Chandra necklace in gold with porcelain, rubellites and peridots

 Chandra necklace in gold with porcelain, rubellites and peridots, 1994.
With the Chandra collection Bvlgari took the experimentations with materials a step further, enhanced by the luminous smoothness of porcelain. It incorporated the typical round shapes favored by the Brand and a very pleasant effect to the touch. Moreover, the porcelain beads produce a nice sound that made these creations even more fun, transgressive and playful.

Necklace in gold with sapphires, rubies, diamonds and silk cord

Necklace in gold with sapphires, rubies, diamonds and silk cord, 1980.
In the 1980s, Bvlgari was the first jeweler to combine silk cords with precious stones. The silk cord could be changed to match the outfit, thus introducing a very modern prêt-à-porter concept in high jewelry . This was but one of Bvlgari's experimentations with materials to achieve a jewel that could be worn all day, in formal and informal occasions.

Melone evening bag in gold with sapphires and diamonds, 1976

Melone evening bag in gold with sapphires and diamonds, 1976.
The round shape of the bag was in keeping with the signature round volumes of the Bvlgari jewelry along with the smooth contours and the cabochon-cut stones. A peculiar part of the bag was that it was hinged to open into two halves and was fitted with a mirror, a comb and lidded compartments. The bags were suspended on silk cords finished with tassels, which were available in a variety of colors and could even be changed to suit the occasion.

Necklace in gold with sapphires, rubies, diamonds and silk cord, 1980

Necklace in gold with sapphires, rubies, diamonds and silk cord, 1980.
In the 1980s, Bvlgari was the first jeweler to combine silk cords with precious stones. The silk cord could be changed to match the outfit, thus introducing a very modern prêt-à-porter concept in high jewelry . This was but one of Bvlgari's experimentations with materials to achieve a jewel that could be worn all day, in formal and informal occasions. 

BVLGARI & ROME

bvlgari&rome
Discover

ICONS

bvlgari icons
Discover

JEWELER TO THE STARS

bvlgari jeweler to the stars
Discover