In 1884, Greek silversmith Sotirio Voulgaris came to Rome on the hunt for a more prosperous future, and founded a little jewellery shop. No one would have pictured that the humble boutique would birth one of the world’s most iconic jewellery maisons. Today, after 135 years, Bvlgari‘s illustrious past has led it the brand to a remarkable design evolution, and a pool of clientele that includes Italian nobility, Hollywood celebrities, and elites world over.
To honour its heritage, Polo Museale del Lazio (Museum Center of Lazio) has created an exhibition titled Bvlgari — The story, The dream. Spread across two locations of Palazzo Venezia and Castel Sant’Angelo, the exhibition traces the maison’s history through documents from the archives, as well as photos and films following over one hundred years of its history.
One of the highlights of the exhibition is the Brand Heritage collection, where it pulls together jewels from private collectors as well as those that have never been exhibited. Think voluptuous gemstones in sumptuous shapes and rounded lines — a signature of the maison — and gold jewels set with Roman coins and gilded serpents. A key part of the installation is located at Castel Sant’Angelo, where you’ll find a ‘Hollywood and The Tiber’ section, which displays jewellery worn by actresses such as Sophia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida and Audrey Hepburn. Complementing this is vintage haute couture dresses, from Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and Schiaparell, curated from famous collector Cecilia Matteucci Lavarini’s private collection.
“This is a unique chance to rediscover Bvlgari’s history and creativity as an icon of Italian-produced craftsmanship, beautifully enhanced by the splendid settings of Castel Sant’Angelo and Palazzo Venezia. The talent, passion and ability to capture the spirit of the time possessed by the company founder Sotirio Bulgari and subsequent generations of his family have shaped the history of jewellery in general.”
To launch the exhibition, Babin welcomed guests of Bvlgari and Polo Museale del Lazio with a cocktail party on the terrace of Castel Sant’Angelo, that ended with a firework show.
Click through the gallery to see who was in attendance.