Bulgari Serpenti: Luxury’s Lure

Eliana Silva

Bulgari has made the serpent an emblematic element of its imagery.

Bulgari has returned to the imagery of the serpent as the central source of inspiration for an update of their Serpenti line. The collection consists of watches, rings, bracelets and single or double necklaces— as if the reptile clung to the skin— all made in gold, platinum, emeralds and diamonds. Each piece is exclusive and made with the most luxurious materials that characterize the history and tradition of the Italian brand.

The charm of “Serpenti” lies in the way in which each piece curls around the arm, the wrist or the neck. They come in different single or double designs, but the snake always rests its head on the wrist of its owner.

The “Serpenti” line, like all Bulgari creations, is full of symbolism and sensuality, conjure and mystery. And although the Italian house earned its reputation for its fine jewelry, its range of products has grown over time to include watches, handbags, fragrances, accessories and even hotels.

Bulgari’s Fall-Winter 2015 collection includes the “Serpenti Hypnotic” bag, a divine and gorgeous masterpiece with a great innovative spirit.

Bulgari Serpenti

As part of this collection, Bulgari decided to decorate its New York flagship store on Fifth Avenue with giant bright snake 190 feet wide, designed by artist Fabien Illou, which had been previously exhibited at Christmas 2014 in Ginza, Tokyo. It is said that the luxurious snake will continue traveling to other corners the world.

As a tribute to this fabulous collection, the book Bulgari Serpenti Collection written by Marion Fasel will be available for sale. Fasel’s magic pen will guide the reader through all the elegant creations that feature the snake. A specialist in the history of jewelry, the author explores the serpent as a symbol from Greco-Roman times and other mythologies: incarnation, birth, eternal life, beauty, and wisdom, as well as sin and falsehood. The book includes images of the firm’s most iconic pieces, including some that belonged to famous personalities such as model and actress Marisa Berenson and the late fashion editor Diana Vreeland.

The snake plays a significant role in mythology. The Romans considered it a symbol of immortality and eternal youth; for the peoples of Africa it represented magic and spirituality and was worshiped as a God, and for the Celts it was synonymous with cunning and transformation. The metaphor of the snake shedding its skin, discarding its old appearance to be renewed once more, explains the meaning of transformation, rebirth, and renewal in so many cultures.

Bulgari Serpenti

In the 1970s, bracelets with the snake motif were often seen on the wrists of European models. Since then, the snake comes back year after year in Bulgari’s necklaces, bracelets, watches, and earrings.

Bulgari has also been featured in film history: their jewels have been seen in over 60 films since 1950. The firm created spectacular pieces in the shape of snakes, which later became sacred monsters in European cinema.

When designing and making jewelry, Bulgari uses the snake as one of its key elements. Throughout the years, the company has crafted several different versions of the reptile. One of the mega film stars who brought fame to the collection was Elizabeth Taylor, who never parted with her snake bracelet, arguing that it helped her to identify better with the character during the filming of Cleopatra in 1962.

The famous fashion editor of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, Diana Vreeland (1903-1989), had a significant collection with a unique piece: a white and pink enamel belt, which she wore rolled twice around her neck, simulating a snake.

Bulgari continues to expand its empire. In addition to its luxury hotels in Milan, London, and Bali, in the next two years you will also find them in Dubai, Beijing, and Shanghai.  ■

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