Vittorio Zunino CelottoGetty Photographs
Bulgari, an Italian icon of high-quality jewelry making, has reached an necessary milestone. This yr celebrates the seventy fifth anniversary of its Serpenti assortment. One of many maison’s most cherished motifs, the Serpenti epitomises all issues Bulgari – ardour for color, aptitude for combining unique supplies, modern artistry and easy glamour – and the gathering has turn out to be one of the well-known and beloved symbols in fashionable jewelry.
For the reason that first iterations appeared within the late Forties, the Serpenti has been worn by a few of Hollywood’s largest names and boasts a historic legacy to match.
Right here, we delve into the fascinating historical past of the design, and what makes the gathering such a permanent traditional.
The symbolism of the snake
Serpents have been celebrated throughout myriad cultures for hundreds of years, with treasured snake relics courting again to Historic Egypt. Knowledge, eternity, power, rebirth and safety are only a few of the highly effective qualities attributed to snake talismans all through historical past.
The Greek goddess of affection and sweetness, Aphrodite, was usually pictured carrying a snake bracelet and serpents have been an necessary emblem throughout the Roman Empire, too. Snakes have additionally been cherished by many monarchs, giving them a way of highly effective status and regality – Queen Victoria notably obtained a snake silhouette engagement ring from Prince Albert in 1839, bestowed as a logo of eternal love.
The rising recognition of the Bulgari Serpenti
The primary assortment of Serpenti designs arrived in 1948, comprising an array of bracelet-style watches that put the now well-known ‘Tubogas’ approach on the map. True to the ‘Retro’ or ‘Machine Type’ of the period, the ‘Tubogas’ bracelet was an avant-garde approach impressed by coiled gasoline pipe. This method gave every design a sprung and sinuous silhouette just like the world had by no means seen – quickly, Serpenti designs have been in excessive demand.
The influential Diana Vreeland – vogue editor of Harper’s Bazaar US from 1936 till 1962, and later editor-in-chief of US Vogue –was a key champion of the Serpenti. She didn’t point out the gathering by title, however famously mentioned to her crew of editors in 1968: “The serpent needs to be on each finger and all wrists and all in every single place.” Vreeland’s private jewelry assortment mirrored this temper – she was famend for carrying a hanging Serpenti belt audaciously looped twice round her neck.
It was certainly the Nineteen Sixties that cemented the Serpenti as an icon – Italian glamour had gripped American tradition and key cinematic moments anchored the Serpenti within the very historical past of the silver display. Most notably, Elizabeth Taylor wore a Serpenti design on the set of Cleopatra in 1962, and her lover Richard Burton (who famously showered Taylor with jewelled presents) quipped: “The one Italian Elizabeth is aware of is Bulgari.”
By the Seventies, daring color had turn out to be synonymous with the maison and maximalist Serpenti designs adopted swimsuit – after which got here the Nineteen Eighties’ iterations that bore the ‘Bulgari Bulgari’ emblem that’s now immediately recognisable.
Immediately, the Serpenti motif evokes each one-of-a-kind jewelled masterpieces and on a regular basis collections, with a broad vary of timepieces, rings, pendants, earrings and bracelets that riff on the Serpenti theme.
Who wears Serpenti?
The listing of Serpenti devotees reads like a who’s who of vogue, the humanities and popular culture, each then and now. Within the Nineteen Eighties, Andy Warhol famously wore a triple-coil Tubogas type snake watch and stopped by Bulgari every time he visited Rome, as he believed it to be “a very powerful museum of up to date artwork”. The Serpenti has continued to garner cinematic appearances too; in 2006 Meryl Streep wore a metal Serpenti watch in The Satan Wears Prada, bringing the design to a brand new technology of vogue fans.
Immediately, the Serpenti nonetheless makes headlines with awards season appearances – in 2021 Zendaya walked the purple carpet of the Venice Worldwide Movie Competition carrying the jaw-dropping ‘Magnifica Hypnotic’ – a diamond necklace that includes an astonishing emerald weighing virtually 94 carats.
Coupled with Dua Lipa, Miley Cyrus and Bella Hadid, the Serpenti stays steadfastly upon vogue’s most influential elite for the purple carpet, however due to the model’s Serpenti line of purses, the motif additionally accompanies the likes of Kate Moss, Miranda Kerr and Priyanka Chopra throughout dressed-down moments, too.
The place to purchase the Serpenti?
You’ll be able to spend money on Serpenti watches and jewels straight from Bulgari, or by means of main designer retailers, together with Selfridges, Internet-a-Porter and Harrods. You may as well decide up pre-loved choices from the likes of Vestiaire Collective,WatchFinder and1st Dibs. And do not forget, everytime you spend money on a eternally piece, whether or not it’s watches or jewelry, it’s necessary to know methods to appropriately retailer and take care of it to make sure it stands the take a look at of time.