The Art of Bulgari: La Dolce Vita and Beyond, 1950–1990

By Martin Chapman and Amanda Triossi

Established in the heart of Rome more than a century ago, Bulgari developed its fresh and vibrant aesthetic in the middle of the twentieth century, when Italian culture, film, and fashion underwent an explosion in creativity. Renowned for making jewelry with colorful cabochon-cut gems, mounting ancient coins in gold jewelry, and creating easy-to-wear everyday pieces, Bulgari is synonymous with exquisite craftsmanship and bold style.

The Art of Bulgari documents the pivotal period when Bulgari broke free from traditional Parisian edicts and joined the evolution of an “Italian style” of jewelry. It features 145 objects from the Bulgari Heritage Collection, including important pieces from the legendary personal holdings of Elizabeth Taylor, and rare pieces from private collections.

The book and its accompanying exhibition at the de Young in San Francisco provide rich contextual material about Bulgari’s history, original design sketches from the jeweler’s archives, and photographs of the glamorous celebrities who have adorned themselves with Bulgari’s jewelry from the dolce vita years onward.


Martin Chapman is curator in charge of European decorative arts and sculpture at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. He is the author of Cartier and America and coauthor of Royal Treasuries from the Louvre: Louis XIV to Marie-Antoinette.

Amanda Triossi is a jewelry historian and consultant, curator of the Bulgari Heritage Collection, and the author or coauthor of several books on jewelry, including Bulgari: 125 Years of Italian Magnificence and The Necklace: From Antiquity to the Present.

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