No jewelry house has as strong an association with the snake as Bulgari, who has so closely identified with the slithering serpent that they’ve draped a giant, glittering likeness of one around their Fifth Avenue New York flagship store.
The front of the Bulgari flagship in New York, installation created by Fabien Illou – photo via French Vogue
That this year happens to be the Year of the Snake in the Chinese Zodiac is a sublime coincidence for Bulgari. To fete this serendipitous occasion, the Roman jewelry house will open the doors of its Fifth Avenue flagship between February 9 and 28 for Bulgari: Serpenti Collection, an exhibition in celebration of the serpentine jewels and watches. The exhibition highlights the house’s most iconic reptile with its various designs spanning several decades since its first creation of the early Serpenti bracelet-watches in the 1940s.
Capping this joyous event will be publisher Assouline’s release of Marion Fassel’s book on the collection: Bulgari: Serpenti Collection. Featuring several of Bulgari’s most celebrated creations of the serpent, the book tours Serpenti pieces from its most illustrious owners, including Elizabeth Taylor, Marisa Berenson and Diana Vreeland, as well as countless other memorable Serpenti jewels.
Book cover of Bulgari: Serpenti Collection by Marion Fasel, published by Assouline. In stores soon. – photo via Assouline
Also in recognition of the Chinese New Year entering under the sign of the snake, Bulgari has released two limited edition watches that will only be available on the Chinese market.
The Bulgari Serpenti two-twirl bracelet uses pave set brilliant cut diamonds and brilliant cut rubies on rose gold plaques to simulate the scales of a serpent, culminating in a stunning snake’s head that opens up to reveal the watch’s ruby adorned dial. – photo via Lifestyle Asia
The second model of the limited edition Bulgari Serpenti watch features a one-coil bracelet with a case shaped like a snake’s head, which is set on either side with six brilliant cut diamonds, a white mother-of-pearl dial and 33 diamond indexes. – photo via Lifestyle Asia
In honor of the commencement of the Year of the Snake this Sunday, I’d like to celebrate Bulgari’s Serpenti Collection and a few sneak peeks of Assouline’s upcoming book.
Bulgari gold, ruby, and diamond snake bracelet, 1950. – photo via Assouline
Elizabeth Taylor Watch Bulgari Serpenti SOLD FOR $974,500, some 60 times its presale estimate, at Christie’s in December 2011.
Bulgari campaign for the Serpenti bracelets and watches, circa 1970. – photo via French Vogue
Originally owned by fashion legend Diana Vreeland, Bulgari replicated this belt so it could have a permanent place in their Historical Archive Collection. This belt is made of pink and white enamel with sapphire eyes.
Serpenti bracelet/watch in yellow gold set with polychrome enamel and two pear-cut emeralds, circa 1965. photo via French Vogue
Black and white enamel and gold snake bracelet by Bulgari, circa 1965. – photo via Assouline
1965 Serpenti bracelet-watch in gold with white and turquoise polychrome enamel and pear shaped sapphire eyes. – photo via Gotham Magazine
Serpenti bracelet/ watch in yellow gold and platinum, set with emeralds and diamonds, circa 1967. – photo via French Vogue
Serpenti bracelet/ watch in yellow gold set with jade, rubies and diamonds, circa 1968. – photo via French Vogue
This 1975 ad campaign illustrates the range
of Bulgari’s serpent- shaped designs.
Bulgari Tubogas watch-bracelet, circa 1971. The double-coiled gold snake Tubogas bracelet has a square case with Jaeger- LeCoultre and Bulgari signatures on the gold soleil dial. – photo via Assouline
Bulgari-Bulgari gold Tubogas watch-bracelet, circa 1980. The black dial has gold hands, gold baton-shaped indexes, and Arabic numerals in the six and twelve o’clock positions. – photo via Assouline
This extra-long diamond and white gold Bulgari Serpenti High Jewelry Collection snake necklace was made to wrap twice around the throat. – photo via Assouline
Single wrap Serpenti bracelet/watch in rose gold set with 245 brilliant-cut diamonds (2.67 carats), featuring a white pearl face with 33 diamonds. – photo via French Vogue
Double wrap Serpenti bracelet/ watch in yellow gold set with 38 diamonds (0.29 carats). – photo via French Vogue
Single wrap Serpenti bracelet in rose gold with a ruby encrusted serpent’s head and pavé diamond scales (8.40). – photo via French Vogue
Fine jewelry Serpenti bracelet in rose gold set with two brilliant pear-cut diamonds (1.03 carats) and pavé diamonds (49.52 carats). – photo via French Vogue
Double wrap Serpenti watch/bracelet in rose gold set with 385 brilliant-cut diamonds (4.12 carats) featuring a white mother of pearl face encrusted with 33 diamonds. – photo via French Vogue
Double wrap Serpenti bracelet/watch in rose gold set with 385 brilliant-cut diamonds (4.12 carats) featuring a black sapphire face embellished with 33 diamonds. – photo via French Vogue
Fine jewelry necklace in white gold with emeralds (1,146.93 carats), 2 pear-cut diamonds (2.14 carats), pear cut diamonds (14.57 carats) turquoises and pavé diamonds (18.85 carats). – photo via French Vogue