A brief history of luxury: Bvlgari’s Serpenti collection turns 75

For 75 years, the Italian jewellery house has been creating and recreating the image of the snake in its jewellery and watches. More recently, it has also used the image in fashion accessories such as bags and glasses.

 
A favourite of film stars and the fashion world, the emblematic snake, a signature of the House of Bvlgari, will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2023. To celebrate the event, the jewellery brand opened an immersive exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery in London at the end of November.

 

Benedetta Barzini, photographed for Vogue in 1968 © Gian Paolo Barbieri/Condé Nast, via Shutterstock

 

Returning to the genesis of Bvlgari’s creation, the snake, glorified by fascinating myths, is a symbol of wisdom, rebirth and vitality. It is a recurring figure in jewellery. But Bvlgari is the first to create a watch inspired by it. Its first Serpenti model, released in 1948, has a spring bracelet that wraps elegantly around the wrist.

 

In the first highly stylised models, dating from the late 1940s, the polished yellow gold bracelets recall the supple shape of the snake’s body and are fashioned either from flexible Tubogas rings (a demanding metalworking technique that combines brilliance and elasticity) or from gold mesh.

 

© Bvlgari

 

In the 1960s, many details adorned the watch, reproducing the scales of the reptile while the snake’s head concealed the watch case. In 1962, the Serpenti collection became internationally famous, thanks to a publicity photo of Elizabeth Taylor on the set of Cleopatra in Rome. The star was wearing a snake in the form of a diamond watch. The film caused a buzz in the newspapers at the time, not least because of the love affair between Elizabeth Taylor and her partner, Richard Burton.

 

Elizabeth Taylor © Bvlgari

 

 

More recently, the collection has expanded to include all kinds of accessories, from bags to bracelets to scarves. Many stars wear the collection on red carpets, such as Zendaya and Anne Hathaway, who have recently become muse of the jewellery brand.

 

Anne Hathaway © Bvlgari

 

Realistically or geometrically abstracted, the Bvlgari snake embodies the main jewellery characteristics that are important to him: passion for colour, juxtaposition of materials and adaptability and advanced goldsmithing techniques.

 

 

Read also > DIOR AND BVLGARI HOUSES UNVEIL THEIR HIGH JEWELRY COLLECTIONS

 

Featured photo : © Bvlgari

Passionnée par l’art et la mode, Hélène s’oriente vers une école de stylisme: l’Atelier Chardon-Savard. Elle complète ensuite sa formation par un MBA en Marketing à l’ISG. Elle a écrit pour le magazine Do it in Paris et se spécialise en rédaction d’articles concernant le luxe, l’art et la mode au sein de Luxus +.

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