By Aleczander Gamboa
Melbourne is set to be bedazzled by the latest exhibition from the National Gallery of Victoria.
Beginning at the end of September, the NGV will open its doors to its Italian Jewels: Bulgari Style exhibition, a spectacular display of jewels that brings more than 80 pieces featured in iconic films and photography.
Drawn from Bulgari’s remarkable archives, the exhibitions pays homage to its long-standing relationships with stars of Hollywood and Italian cinema.
Standout features include emerald and diamond jewellery from the personal collection of Elizabeth Taylor, along with a ruby and diamond necklace worn by Sophia Loren. The exhibition sets its focus on the extravagant Dolce Vita period of the ’50s and ’60s, when Rome was a popular location for Hollywood films.
“Spanning from the 1930s until today, the works illustrate a strong design heritage and aesthetic evolution, deeply entrenched in Italian history and artisanal traditions. Italian Jewels: Bulgari Style showcases the glamour of a golden age of cinema and design, and represents Bulgari’s constant experimentation and inimitable aesthetic codes,” said Bulgari brand and heritage curator Lucia Boscaini.
Major highlights of the exhibition include jewels presented to Taylor by her fifth husband Richard Burton – the emerald ring he gifted to her during her time on the set of Cleopatra – as well as unique creations worn by Hollywood stars from the likes of Grace Kelly, Anita Ekberg and Keira Knightley.
Such an exhibition has been a long time coming for Bulgari. With a rich history stretching back more than a century, its humble beginnings emerged when Greek silversmith Sotirio Bulgari came to Rome and opened his first shop in 1884. Its luxurious aesthetic fast became a favourite among royalty, actresses and high society alike. To this day, Bulgari remains an emblem of Italian excellence and creativity.
Italian Jewels: Bulgari Style will displayed at NGV International from September 30, 2016 until January 29, 2017. Entry is free to the public.