Exhibition: Italian Jewels: Bulgari Style

If you’re a fan of Bulgari jewellery then a visit to the National Gallery of Victoria is a must.

Installation view of Italian Jewels: Bulgari Style at NGV International: Photo: Wayne Taylor.

Installation view of Italian Jewels: Bulgari Style at NGV International: Photo: Wayne Taylor.

The gallery is staging ‘Italian Jewels: Bulgari Style’, which showcases numerous items made by the famous Rome-based company.

The free exhibition highlights the post–Second World War period and focuses on the longstanding relationship between the company and Hollywood cinema. It also explains the development of different styles of jewellery.

Installation view of Italian Jewels: Bulgari Style at NGV International: Photo: Wayne Taylor

Installation view of Italian Jewels: Bulgari Style at NGV International: Photo: Wayne Taylor

The exhibition includes pieces from the personal collections of Elizabeth Taylor and Gina Lollobrigida and those favoured by prestigious patrons such as Sophia Loren, Anita Ekberg and Grace Kelly.

Accompanying jewellery pieces are pictures of the stars wearing those jewels. As well as seeing some exquisite jewellery, the exhibition also acts as a reminder of how beautiful these actresses were.

Then there are some rarely seen jewellery pieces such as a 1930’s platinum and diamond tiara, which has been in the National Collection of Qatar since 2011.

Installation view of Italian Jewels: Bulgari Style at NGV International: Photo: Wayne Taylor

Installation view of Italian Jewels: Bulgari Style at NGV International. Photo: Wayne Taylor

The exhibition includes information on many of the pieces. We learn, for example, that an octagonal step-cut Colombian emerald ring on display was given to Elizabeth Taylor by Richard Burton when they began their affair during the filming of Cleopatra. She later auctioned it with the note: “Wear it With Love.”

There’s also an explanation of the development of such items as Tremblant brooches, convertible bracelets, snake-shaped bracelet-watches –  known as Serpenti – and the Melone evening bag.  The exhibition also includes information on different phases of the company’s jewellery making process.

Unlike another of the gallery’s current exhibitions, Viktor & Rolf  I could happily wear just about every piece on show in ‘Italian Jewels: Bulgari Style’. Sadly, however, I realise it’s never going to happen!

‘Italian Jewels: Bulgari Style’ is on at the NGV until January 29.  Visit the National Gallery of Victoria website for more information.  The exhibition is one of many special events on at the gallery this month. Others include David Hockey: CurrentJohn Olsen , Viktor & Rolf: Fashion Artists.

 

 

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