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  • Catalogue Essay

    The house of Bulgari is one of the world’s most distinguished jewelry houses, recognized for their superb craftsmanship, style and magnificent jewelry. Founded by Greek silversmith Sotirio Bulgari in 1884, this family business flourished over the decades by creating elegant jewels that drew inspiration from Greek and Roman classicism, Italian Renaissance, and the works by 19th century Roman school of goldsmiths. Today, as in yesteryear, traditional themes still pulse through modern designs maintaining their aesthetic, paying homage to Rome and displaying a sensitivity to the modern women.

    Bulgari’s modern jewels are successful in merging the past and present, combining architectural elements with modern sensibility. The feminine and colorful ‘fan’ motifs in the ‘Divia’s Dream’ necklace, lot 214, draw inspiration from Rome’s mosaic Caracalla Baths, constructed in 217 AD. Through this design, Bulgari has subliminally captured a part of ancient Rome and the important role these baths provided in a social and religious place – to cleanse the soul and body. The theme and the imagery that it inspires are very much a part of the Bulgari marque.

    The tanzanite, diamond, turquoise and emerald necklace, lot 215, illustrates modern Buglari at its best with its infusion of color, movement and design. This jewel is playful and sensual, artfully utilizing conical turquoise and pave diamond links, embellished with circular and emerald rondelle accents, telling a story of life and luxury. The gorgeous tumbled tanzanite, organic in form, juxtaposed against the geometric forms, draws attention with the contrast of shape and size, leading you to a tassel of cone shaped links, with gem-set terminals. This necklace aptly represents the modern women of Rome: feminine, playful, sensuous, colorful and strong.

    The Parentesi collection, first conceived in 1982, was Bulgari’s first line of modular jewelry, see lot 213. This design was first offered without adornment, making it an easy to wear jewel. At the time, no one would have imaged how popular this geometric pattern, inspired by the interlocking travertine stones that line pavement of ancient Rome, would have on the world. Met with great success, the Parentesi jewels were later enhanced with patterns of diamonds and colorful stones. Today, while the proportions and angles may have changed, this collection remains at the cornerstone of their high jewelry.

    The ‘Ring’ bracelet, lot 219, was produced in a limited edition of only three, making it exceedingly rare. As is expected of Bulgari, color plays a strong role in this whimsical design. What is unusual about this design is not only the color combination or the suggestion of a ring, but that it is sculptural, commanding and powerful, defying the classical idea of what a bracelet should be. In other words, it’s chic.

    For more than 100 years, Bulgari has been described as a symbol of excellence. They have stayed true to their original aesthetic by honoring their past in all of their works, as illustrated in the luxurious, colorful and majestic Bulgari jewels in this sale.

  • Artist Biography



    Originally from Kalarites, Greece, Sotirios Voulgaris emigrated to Rome because of Greece's rising poverty and difficulty separating from the Ottoman Empire. He set foot on Italian soil in 1880 with little money in his pocket and spent the next four years preparing what would go on to become Italy's oldest jewelry company. 

    In 1884, Bulgari opened its doors to the Italian people with its offering of jewelry and accessories. Bulgari's style takes from traditions in Greek and Roman craftsmanship to elegantly balance volume and subtlety. Later, in the late 1960s, Bulgari bridged classicism and modernity by introducing its seductive, now-iconic Serpenti collection of snake-shaped coil bracelets and watches. It is through its meticulous combination of influences that Bulgari has garnered an international and loyal high-profile clientele, which included Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn. These Hollywood stars have immortalized the house's unique gem-adorned bracelets, necklaces and earrings in rounded forms. 

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A Pair of Ruby, Diamond, Platinum and Gold Earrings

Round brilliant-cut diamonds
Square-shaped rubies
Signed, with Italian assay marks
Platinum and 18 karat white gold, length approximately 2.65 inches, with signed box

$6,000 - 8,000 

Sold for $10,000

Contact Specialist
Susan Abeles
Head of Department, Americas and Senior International Specialist
New York
+1 212 940 1383


New York Auction 9 December 2019