Thursday, March 23, 2017

Italian Jewels: Bulgari Style

A stunning Bulgari brooch.

My good friend Rosie took a trip to Australia earlier this year and while there, went to the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne intending to see a certain exhibit. What she came across was a major Bulgari show! Why do I never have luck like this? She was so kind as to share some photos with me, and with her permission I can share them with you!

The exhibit was entitled Italian Jewels: Bulgari Style and ran from September 30, 2016 to January 29, 2017. I do believe many of the pieces on display were also shown in San Francisco during the Bulgari exhibit at the de Young Museum in 2013. I hope this show makes its way to NYC! I have the book from the San Francisco exhibition and it is glorious, I highly recommend it for any Bulgari fan. It’s called The Art of Bulgari: La Dolce Vita and Beyond, 1950-1990. If you can’t buy it from Amazon it might be available from eBay, where I got it. Most of the facts I am listing here I read about in the book.

Liz’s very famous Bulgari necklace and pendant/brooch.

You won’t be surprised to know that I was very excited that Rosie got to visit with important jewels once owned by Elizabeth Taylor, which are now part of the Bulgari Heritage Collection. How amazing to see her emerald and diamond necklace in person!

Three important pieces owned by Liz.

The tremblant brooch (which indicates it moves with the movement of the wearer) on the left is from 1960. I believe Eddie Fisher gave it to her, though it does not say in the book. If Fisher did give it to her I have to wonder if she actually paid for it herself.

The unbelievably beautiful necklace (from 1962), and the pendant/brooch (from 1958) were presents from Burton. The brooch was his engagement gift to her in 1962 and Liz wore it pinned to her yellow chiffon dress (by Oscar-winning Cleopatra costume designer Irene Sharaff) when she married Burton in 1964. His wedding present to her was the emerald and diamond necklace.

The emerald and diamond ring is from 1961 and was the first present Burton gave her.

A 1930 platinum and diamond tiara.

I don’t think of Bulgari when I think of straight-up diamond jewelry, but this wonderful tiara is, according to the gallery text, an example of their early work, from 1930. It is owned by the National Collection of Qatar and the exhibit was the first time the tiara was shown outside of Qatar since its purchase in 2011.

A necklace from 1989.

The above necklace is from 1989, of emerald, amethysts, rubies and diamonds set in yellow gold. Magnificent!

Jennifer Tilly owns this beauty!

This stupendous necklace is from 1972, made of turquoise and diamonds set in platinum, and is owned by Jennifer Tilly. What a jewelry maven she is.

A beautiful book on Bulgari.

The book I own, from the San Francisco show, is featured above. The publication below was shown on the NGV site and features Liz’s brooch as the cover piece. Gorgeous!

All photos of the exhibit are courtesy of Rosie. I am so grateful to her for sharing this beauty with all of us! If you were lucky enough to also see this show, tell me all about it!


Rosie said...


It was a pleasure sharing my photos of the Bulgari exhibit at the NGV Melbourne with you & your followers.

When I wandered into the exhibit (quite by accident), my first thought was Jill would love this as much as I do. I starting snapping photos quickly & would have continued but the crowds got crazy & I couldn't get close to some of the other displays.

Right now I am tracking down "The Art of Bulgari: La Dolce Vita and Beyond" to purchase.

I always look forward to your posts.

Best, Rosie

Jill said...

Hi Rosie! I am SO grateful to you for sharing these pictures with us. They are so gorgeous! The guards would've had to pull me away from the Liz jewelry, ha ha. I love that you got a photo of her famous necklace from a side angle, that is one of my favorite ways to shoot jewelry. Thank you so much for letting me write this post! xx P.S. I will keep my eyes peeled for a copy of the book. I think I paid about $25-ish for it on eBay. It has a slight warp in the center but otherwise it is in perfect condition.

Coulda shoulda woulda said...

I don't know if it is age but when I was younger I thought Bvlgari was a bit OTT but now apart from Van Cleef it is my new favourite!

Jill said...

Hi Naomi, when I was younger I was really into Bulgari perfumes, I liked them better than Chanel scents! I am with you on their jewels, after VCA (did you see the new Frivole offerings?), I think I am preferring new Bulgari over new Cartier (I have to exempt vintage from this discussion because I love both brands' vintage pieces). The pieces are pretty nice, from feminine to edgy, and some of the price points are FAR friendlier than VCA or Cartier! xx

Data in the Rough said...

I love that Bulgari book! The story I heard when Taylor and Fischer were divorcing was that he wanted her to pay for that emerald brooch he got her (classy!), her reply was (to the effect of) 'I can live without you but I can't live live without that brooch'. So she bought it and moved on! I'll have to find where I read that but it sounded like something Elizabeth would have said.

I see you're reading Furious Love, the part where Burton bids on that 69 carat Taylor Burton diamond is one of my favorite parts! I love this post and let your friend know that these are amazing photos! Nice seeing Elizabeth's jewels again!

Jill said...

Hi Michelle, oh do I love that Liz told Eddie she could live without him but not the brooch. I love her more every day! I have really just started 'Furious Love' but you already have me anticipating Burton bidding on that gigantic diamond! xx