Even among longtime jewelry connoisseurs, there is a common yet rarely asked question about this brand: How exactly is the name pronounced?
Although it is stylized with the second letter appearing as a V, it is simply pronounced Bulgari—the last name of the family that created the company. The V is an homage to the family’s Greek origins. Konstantinos Voulgaris was the family’s first silversmith, and he was a traveling craftsman who would sell his pieces as he moved through the islands.
As idyllic and appealing as that may sound, romanticism and good business practices don’t always mix, unfortunately. When his grandson decided to move to Rome to establish roots for the business in Italy, therefore, it was a far more momentous and significant occasion in the history of the jewelry industry than anyone at the time could possibly have anticipated.
Upon moving to Italy, Sotirios, the grandson, adopted the Latin version of the family name, hence the creation of BVLGARI. Like so many of the most prominent names in the jewelry industry, BVLGARI has flourished because it has stayed within the family, allowing them to pass on knowledge and secrets and to maintain a particular and very distinctive style.
BVLGARI was owned by members of the family until 2011, when it was acquired by French luxury empire Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. The chair, vice-chair, and CEO of the company are all still direct descendants of Konstantinos Voulgaris.
Their jewelry is immediately identifiable for the way that it incorporates classic and even ancient elements into pieces that never feel staid, conservative, or out of style. Only BVLGARI is uniquely equipped to make pieces that appeal to contemporary sensibilities while hearkening back to such ancient wonders as the Colosseum or the gems of the Italian Renaissance.
Of course, some of their pieces incorporate classic styles that are not quite as ancient but are nevertheless timeless and enduring. Art Deco imagery and motifs that bring the Parisian cityscape to mind are just two of the examples of BVLGARI's ability to adapt some of the most revered artistic styles into their pieces of jewelry.
And the resulting elegance and sophistication is undeniable. Many of the most fashionable celebrity icons of the 20th century were avid collectors of BVLGARI's finest offerings. Elizabeth Taylor, for example, had millions of dollars worth of BVLGARI jewelry that was auctioned off after her passing.
And other women who have captured our collective imagination thanks to their discerning sense of style have also proudly worn BVLGARI; everyone from Audrey Hepburn and Princess Grace of Monaco to Naomi Watts and Uma Thurman.
It is true that, despite the manifold things jewelry is capable of, it cannot actually speak for itself. So let’s leave that to a man who had a gift for expression of all sorts—none other than Andy Warhol himself: “For me, calling at BVLGARI's shop is like visiting the best exhibition of contemporary art.”
Find your perfect BVLGARI piece here.