SYDNEY — A new exhibition of jewelry from Bulgari’s heritage collection will run from Sept. 30 to Jan. 29, 2017, at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia.
Developed exclusively for the NGV, “Italian Jewels: Bulgari Style” will showcase more than 80 pieces from Bulgari’s archives alongside multimedia assets, highlighting the brand’s enduring relationships with the stars of Hollywood and Italian cinema.
There is a special focus on the mid 20th-century “Hollywood on the Tiber” era, when Rome’s Cinecittà Studios attracted a large number of international productions such as “Roman Holiday,” “Three Coins in the Fountain,” “Quo Vadis,” “Helen of Troy,” “The Barefoot Contessa” and “Cleopatra.”
Featured pieces include a 1962 step-cut octagonal 7.40-carat emerald ring with 12 pear-shaped diamonds that was given to Elizabeth Taylor by Richard Burton during the filming of “Cleopatra” and a platinum, diamond and Colombian emerald pendant and necklace, a wedding gift from Burton in 1964.
The latter was worn by Taylor in 1967 when she won the Best Actress Oscar for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.” Jewelry worn by Grace Kelly, Anita Ekberg, Gina Lollobrigida, Claudia Cardinale, Sophia Loren, Keira Knightley and Claudia Schiffer is also featured.
“Spanning from the Thirties until today, the works illustrate a strong design heritage and aesthetic evolution, deeply entrenched in Italian history and artisanal traditions,” said Lucia Boscaini, Bulgari brand and heritage curator.
The show represents the museum’s first exhibition of a luxury jewelry brand, Amanda Dunsmore, NGV senior curator for international decorative arts and antiquities, told WWD.
“We were interested in that aesthetic which is very particular to Bulgari — a very bold, robust design style that comes through in their broad use of colored stones — and wanted to focus on that golden age of Bulgari products in the late Fifties and Sixties, when they really came to international prominence, being patronized by major Hollywood stars and leading socialites,” she said.