American Marketer

Events / Causes

Bulgari fetes trademark designs, cultural relevance in exhibition

May 29, 2013


Italian jeweler Bulgari is gaining exposure by showing off its trademark designs and cultural relevance in an exhibition at the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco.

“The Art of Bulgari: La Dolce Vita & Beyond, 1950-1990” exhibit includes approximately 150 pieces that show off the brand’s design trends throughout the years. Bulgari will likely gain additional exposure through the museum exhibit that will attract historians, art aficionados and jewelry enthusiasts.

"The Fine Arts Museums have been showing some very successful jewelry exhibitions in recent years and Bulgari is an important jeweler," said Martin Chapman, curator in charge of European decorative arts and sculpture at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

"This is the first exhibition of Bulgari's work to be shown in an American museum," he said.

The M. H. de Young Memorial Museum is a part of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Bulgari declined to comment.

The sweet life

The museum will show off Bulgari’s jewelry designs throughout the years. The exhibit starts in the year 1950 and continues until 1990.

The pieces selected to be on display show off the jeweler’s trademark pieces and designs.

1965 Bulgari bib necklace

Many of the pieces are inspired by Italian history or contemporary trends. Jewelry ranges from Greco-Roman classicism-themed to Pop Art-inspired.

In addition, the exhibit flaunts the brands connection to popular culture and its relationship with actresses Sophia Loren, Ingrid Bergman and Elizabeth Taylor. The display includes several pieces from Ms. Taylor’s collection.

Ms. Taylor's necklace with emeralds and diamonds

Sketches, photographs and other archival materials will be used in the exhibit to delve into the connection between Bulgari and culture.

The exhibit will be open from Sept. 21, 2013 – Feb. 17, 2014. Price of admission is $20 for adults, $17 for seniors, $16 for college students and $10 for children.

This exhibition will allow Bulgari to gain additional exposure to the art world while showing off its impact on the jewelry industry.

“Bulgari creates jewelry inspired by historical and cultural influences, representing moments in time,” said Elizabeth DeMaso, managing director of Clutch Collective, New York. “In this way, their jewelry is very much an art form.

“Over the years, the distinct traits of Bulgari jewelry – bold color combinations and original stone settings – have been adopted by other jewelry designers,” she said. “It is clearly an influencer in the category.”

On display

Other luxury brands have secured placements in museum displays to show off their history and craftsmanship.

For instance, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is putting its craftsmanship and history on display in its first museum exhibition at the BMW Museum in Munich, Germany, that opened March 20.

The exhibition titled “Strive for Perfection” celebrates the 10th year of the BMW Group’s ownership of Rolls-Royce and the 150th anniversary of Sir Henry Royce’s birth. By hosting an exhibit in an already-known luxury vehicle museum, Rolls-Royce is catering to car enthusiasts and could possible gain more brand followers (see story).

Also, Swiss watchmaker Breguet is appealing to watch enthusiasts through its participation in the “Precision and Splendor: Clocks and Watches at The Frick Collection,” New York.

The three historic Breguet timepieces by Abraham-Louis Breguet and his son Antoine-Louis Breguet from the late eighteenth century are the most recent creations on display. Breguet also provided major funding for the exhibit, which could strengthen its reputation in the watch industry (see story).

Exhibitions and displays give brands a chance to show off their creativity and craftsmanship in a way that consumers can not feel as though they are having products pushed on them.

For Bulgari, this allows the brand to align with a museum and organization with an interested audience.

“Being featured in The Fine Arts Museum gives Bulgari a platform to tout their inspiration and craftsmanship,” Ms. DeMaso said.

“It is an opportunity to highlight the brand’s history and memorable pieces through a reputable institution,” she said.

Final take

Erin Shea, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York