From royals to entertainers, the beautiful people around the world have long been drawn to the glittering jewelry made in Italy by Bulgari. Today, we’ve got a look at a new book celebrating the firm’s latest creations, as well as other favorite pieces from over the years.
The latest coffee table book from the firm, Bvlgari Magnifica: The Power Women Hold, was recently published by Rizzoli. (Huge thanks to the people at Rizzoli for generously sending over a copy for me to review!) The book celebrates the latest high jewelry collection, “Magnifica,” produced by the company.
The book combines illustrations, photographs, and digital artwork with text focused on the way that jewelry connects with the heads, the hearts, and the hands of the women who create and wear the pieces. Curated by stylist Tina Leung, the book features text from a varied range of contributors, including essays by Alexandra Damianos of Christie’s, Luisa Simonetto, and Lucia Silvestri, creative director of Bulgari.
Along with the vivid imagery and text, the book includes a trio of original poems by Mia Moretti, tucked inside paper envelopes attached to the pages of the book. It’s a special touch, one that will certainly be appreciated by Bulgari lovers. This book really is for the person who loves Bulgari jewelry specifically, especially their modern pieces. For that particular audience member, I think the book would be a bright, elegant addition to a gorgeous coffee table.
While I love the bright and colorful new jewels produced by Bulgari, I must admit that I find myself often more drawn to the firm’s archive pieces. Royals from across the Mediterranean have proven themselves to be fans of the jewelry house over the decades. Bulgari was responsible for re-setting the magnificent diamond and aquamarine tiara that belonged to Queen Ena of Spain (worn above by her great-granddaughter, Princess Sibilla of Luxembourg, in 2012).
The current Queen of Spain also has several Bulgari pieces in her jewelry box. Letizia particularly loves these diamond and aquamarine earrings, which can be worn with the gorgeous aqua pendant with the hoop section alone. Above, she wears the complete earring in April 2016 for the Cervantes Prize award ceremony.
Queen Letizia also owns the firm’s white gold and diamond Parenthesis ring. Above, she wears the ring on her left hand during a visit from the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall to Madrid in 2011.
Several women from formerly reigning families also wear Bulgari. In June 2015, Princess Tatiana of Greece and Denmark wore a petite Bulgari tiara in Stockholm for the wedding of Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia of Sweden.
And, of course, the Italian royals have patronized the firm as well. Here, actress Clotilde Courau (who is married to Prince Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy) wears an emerald ring from Bulgari for a special celebration of Elizabeth Taylor’s collection of Bulgari jewelry back in 2013.
Speaking of which—who had a better collection of Bulgari than Liz? Dame Elizabeth Taylor is definitely the first person I think of when Bulgari comes up in any discussion. Her collection was brimming with Bulgari jewels. Her love affair with the firm began in the early 1960s, when she was in Rome to shoot Cleopatra.
Taylor’s legendary Bulgari collection included this gorgeous pair of diamond and emerald earrings, which were a gift from her fourth husband, Eddie Fisher. Here, in 1963, she pairs the earrings with the Mike Todd Diamond Tiara for a screening of Lawrence of Arabia.
Fisher also bought Taylor a gorgeous floral brooch from Bulgari, set with diamonds and emeralds. In 2014, the brooch was displayed in all its sparkling grandeur at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
When Fisher and Taylor divorced, the next husband to buy her Bulgari jewelry was, of course, Richard Burton. He’s the one who gave her the magnificent Bulgari diamond and emerald necklace, with a removable pendant that could also be worn as a brooch. The necklace was also included in the Italian jewelry exhibition at the V&A in 2014.
She wore the brooch pinned to her dress for her first wedding to Burton, which took place in Montreal in 1964. The wedding look, with her floaty yellow dress and flowers strewn in her ’60s hair, has become an iconic one.
Taylor’s collection of Bulgari jewels also included numerous other gems, including pearls and sapphires. Burton bought her this eye-catching diamond and sapphire sautoir from Bulgari to mark her 40th birthday in 1972. The piece features a large sugarloaf sapphire in its pendant. Here, the necklace is exhibited in Hong Kong in 2011 ahead of the famous sale Taylor’s jewelry at Christie’s in New York that December.
Since the landmark sale, pieces from Taylor’s Bulgari collection have been loaned to numerous exhibitions, and they’re also sometimes spotted on contemporary red carpets. In May 2013, actress Jessica Chastain wore the sapphire necklace at the Cannes Film Festival. The occasion was a very appropriate one: a special screening of Cleopatra to mark the film’s 50th anniversary.
The magnificent emerald and diamond necklace has also been worn in public. In February 2013, actress Julianne Moore wore the necklace at BVLGARI Beverly Hills for that special celebration of Taylor’s Bulgari collection.
Emeralds have become such a lasting legacy of Bulgari’s style, and so I was pleased to see a gorgeous emerald showcased on the cover of Bvlgari Magnifica: The Power Women Hold. If you’d like to purchase a copy of the book for your coffee table (and help support The Court Jeweller at the same time!), you can use our Amazon affiliate link for the item here. Please note that any money that I make as a commission from these links is used to purchase more materials for review and research purposes, geared toward making more content for The Court Jeweller.