Founded in Rome in 1884 by Greek silversmith Sotirio Bulgari.. Bulgari established a reputation for Italian excellence with its exquisite craftsmanship and magnificent jewellery. Over the decades Bulgari created a distinctive style with vibrant colour combinations and motifs that pay homage to its Roman heritage. While revering its cultural legacy.. Bulgari introduced innovations that rewrote the rules of the jewellery universe and launched new trends that stood out as icons of contemporary design.
Founded in 1884 by silversmith Sotirio Bulgari as a modest jewellery shop Bulgari has- over the decades- become a luxury brand with a reputation for the finest craftsmanship and brilliant colour combinations. The entrepreneurial story is inspiring: Sotirio hailed from Epirus Village in Paramythia—a center of silversmithing in the Balkans. In 1881 he fled to Rome because of the clashes between Turkish and Greek armies… and three years later… opened a store there.
In 1888 he married Eleni Basio and they had six children. In 1905 he unveiled another store that would become the flagship and go-to destination for the rich and famous. The jewellery creations of the 1920s reflect the design of traditional French school… incorporating platinum and diamonds with geometric and stylized Art Déco design. From the Forties.. the classic Bvlgari style started to emerge embracing yellow gold and the Serpenti jewellery pieces.
The first logo made its debut in the early Twenties when brass letters graced the doorway of the flagship. In reference to ancient Rome, the trademark is written BVLGARI in the classical Latin alphabet. During this era- some of Bulgari’s best-known clients include Elizabeth Taylor, Anna Magnani, Ingrid Bergman and Gina Lollobrigida as Rome earned a reputation as “Hollywood on the Tiber” with the Cinecittà Studios. By the mid-1950s Bvlgari introduced bold combinations of precious gem stones which quickly became an hallmark of the luxury brand.
The post-WWII boom saw a return to luxury and Bulgari introduced structured symmetrical shapes in yellow gold set with precious gemstones. These pieces were a departure from Parisian design. After Giorgio’s death in 1966 his son Gianni led the company as Chairman and CEO. During the Seventies Bulgari opened stores in New York, Geneva, Monte Carlo and Paris. This era marks the beginning of the luxury brand’s overseas expansion where the jewellery was popular for its angular forms, brilliant colours- yellow gold. In 1977 Bulgari entered the horlogerie industry and Bulgari Time opened in Switzerland.
In 1984 Paolo Bulgari Giorgio’s sons Nicola Bulgari became Chairman and Vice-Chairman while their nephew became CEO. He is credited with transforming Bulgari into one of the most successful luxury brands of that era. In 1995 Trapani diversified Bulgari with Bulgari Parfums in Switzerland to oversee creation and production of perfumes. This was followed by its debut accessories collection of silk scarves, leather accessories and eyewear produced through a licensing agreement with Luxottica. In 2000 Bulgari acquired watchmaking brands Daniel Roth and Gérald Genta, jewellery brand Crova and firms that specialised in leather goods.
In 2001 Bulgari formed a joint venture with The Ritz-Carlton — owned by Marriott International — to launch Bulgari Hotels and Resorts in Milan, Bali, London, Beijing, Dubai and Shanghai with plans to open in Paris, Moscow and Tokyo. That year the Bulgari family sold its controlling stake to French luxury conglomerate LVMH for a reported sum of $5.2 billion in cash and stock. Per BBC: “Bulgari has agreed to the takeover ‘in order to reinforce, in accordance with its history, values, craftsmanship and identity, the long-term development of the Bulgari Group.’ As part of the deal the Bulgari family will become the second-biggest family shareholder in LVMH.”
In 2017 Bulgari opened a jewellery manufacturing headquarters in Valenza, an academy to train watchmakers and Bulgari Jewellery Academy where professional goldsmiths and jewellers train new talent. Today, jewellery is the core businessand focus is also on its high-end boutique hotel chain. Per Robb Report: “the luxury jeweller announced that it would expand its manufacturing plant in Valenza, Italy to double the site’s production capacity by 2025. The luxury brand is also planning to reopen its flagship boutique in Milan by 2024 which will feature larger interiors…”
Bvlgari honours its rich Italian past within its contemporary modern designs and upholds a rich Roman legacy of timeless glamour- craftsmanship- and elegance. The luxury brand draws inspiration from its deep Italian roots, celebrating the country’s rich history of art, culture, and craftsmanship. The brand fuses this heritage with contemporary design to create jewellery, watches and fashion accessories that are a nod to the past and a vision of the future. By merging tradition with creativity, Bulgari offers customers products that are not only stylish and modern but also a nod to Italy’s artistic and creative legacy.
Bulgari’s dedication to craftsmanship is another defining element of its brand vision. The brand’s artisans- renowned for their exceptional skills- craft each piece with meticulous attention to detail and finest quality. The artistry and precision that go into creating Bulgari products set them apart, making them a testament to the value of artisanal craftsmanship in a world that often prioritizes mass production. Bulgari also proudly embraces its Roman legacy, connecting its brand to the city’s history and culture. The brand draws from the artistic and architectural masterpieces of Rome. This Roman legacy serves as a constant source of inspiration for Bulgari, shaping its designs and instilling a sense of history in each piece.
Bulgari’s mission is to become the market leader by challenging competitors every day, on every product, in each store and in all activities.
Paolo Bulgari (Chairman)
Jean-Christophe Babin (CEO)
Luxury brand Bulgari is widely acclaimed for its fine jewellery collections, watches, leather goods and has now diversified into a chain of luxury boutique hotels.