BULGARI’S TEXAS TURN: When Bulgari set roots in Texas 30 years ago, the company didn’t focus just on Houston and Dallas. Instead, vice chairman Nicola Bulgari frequented the small West Texas towns of Midland and Odessa, recognizing the brand, and its high-wattage pieces, appeal to women across the Lone Star State. Bulgari last week showed its ardor for Texas hasn’t waned at a lush private dinner for 200 at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, celebrating the opening of “Bulgari: 130 Years of Masterpieces.” The HMNS has amassed one of the largest collections of rare minerals in the world, and was a natural fit for Bulgari’s glittering exhibit of necklaces, rings, earrings, cuffs and minaudieres.

Bulgari brand ambassador Naomi Watts flew from New York for the evening wearing one-of-a-kind Serpenti necklace from the brand’s High Jewelry collection. She paired it with a lemon yellow Preen dress and carried a Bulgari cocktail evening pochette in palm embroidered silver and gold. “Really, it’s like every woman’s dream to wear this. The serpent is so classic, but makes a statement. Bulgari mixes old and new and has a foot in both worlds,” Watts said.

This story first appeared in the May 8, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Even though she’s a red carpet veteran, Watts relishes the opportunities to wear Bulgari’s pieces, but when she’s in the role of mom, it’s back to basics. “I really just have a uniform I wear when I’m at home, but I do often wear my diamond stud earrings. Anything else and I’d be afraid to lose it,” Watts said.

The crowd moved from the red carpet to the exhibit, which has previously been on display in San Francisco, but Bulgari included additional pieces for the Houston exhibition. Two of Houston’s own gems, Lynn Wyatt and Joanne King Herring, loaned pieces from their personal collections for the five-month exhibit and the duo garnered almost as much attention during the evening as the pieces themselves.

Wyatt said she has worn her necklace of gold with yellow sapphires lapis lazuli and diamonds with everything from a black turtleneck and velvet jeans to a white satin shirt. She chose a long ruffled Chanel skirt and Chanel belt with a simple long-sleeve shirt that showcased the 8kt white gold necklace, an 18kt white gold bracelet and an 18kt white gold diamond bracelet.

“I must confess, this is the first time I have ever borrowed jewelry in my life. In my day, nobody thought of wearing someone else’s jewelry,” Wyatt said. “Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I would only do it for Bulgari.”

Herring wore a diaphanous gold gown and donned an 18kt white gold necklace with sapphires, peridots, milky quartzes and round brilliant diamonds and earrings to match. Her gold and diamond sautoir necklace is a well-traveled piece, having been worn at the White House, Buckingham Palace and other international locations.

“It looks kind of like lightning. It has certainly been special in my life.” Herring said.

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