"The Lord of the Rings"
The Bulgari family descended from an old family of Greek silversmiths. In 1879, Sotirio Boulgaris emigrated to Italy where, after a few months in Naples, he eventually moved to Rome. After selling in front of the French Academy, a Greek merchant offered him to display his wares, buckles and buttons etc., in a corner of his shop window in Via Sistina. Thanks to their original style, Sotirio's objects were selling well. So much so that in 1884 he was able to open his own shop in the same street. Since business was very quiet during the Roman summer, Sotorio intended to capitalise on trade in the summer resort. He decided to settle in St Moritz, where he was successful. In Rome, he finally settled at 10 Via Condotti. His shop was called 'Old Curiosity Shop' with reference to Charles Dickens. The name was carefully chosen as to advertise his international flair as well as to target wealthy British and American aristocrats who would be doing their Grand Tour of Europe, and Italy in particular.
However, in order to concentrate on jewellery and silver, he focused on Rome as his prime location. His sons Giorgio and Constantino developed a passionate interest in jewels and precious stones and gradually took over their father's role. In 1934, a few months after Sotirios' death, the Via Condotti store was enlarged and refurbished to such acclaim that it features in the entry 'negozio' in the Enciclopedia Treccani, Italy's most important encyclopedia.
After the Second World War, Bulgari enters into a new style inspired by Greek and Roman classicism, creating what was to become 'the Bulgari style': moving from flowery, playful, asymmetrical motifs towards more structured, symmetrical and compact shapes with smooth, linear outlines and a sense of volume, as can be seen in their use of cabochon cuts and bombé mounts.
THE PROPERTY OF A LADY (continued)