The luxury House of Bulgari has always been at the forefront of celebrating opulence and beauty. The snake, an enigmatic symbol of wisdom, rebirth and vitality since time immemorial, also captured the creative spirit at Bulgari. Bulgari’s iconic Serpenti stands as a testament to metamorphosis that has conquered the hearts of jewellery lovers. More specifically, with its bold and distinctive style, Serpenti has become a symbol of Italian elegance.
History of the Serpenti: From Timepiece to Timeless Jewel
It is this vitality that beguiled the jeweller Bulgari since the first creation in 1948 when the Serpenti was initially crafted as a wrist-bound jewellery watch. In addition, the innovative spirit of Bulgari uses the “tubogas” technique allowing the Serpenti to roll up with great flexibility. The 1960s marked a transformative era for this exquisite serpent, as it adorned itself with articulated scales coloured with precious stones and sparkling enamels. It was during this period that the Serpenti operated a mutation, the secret watch was born by concealing a dial under the animal’s head.
Every aspect of this timeless jewel is a collector’s dream, from the bracelet’s sinuous coiled serpent, to the sparkling natural diamonds adorning it.
Rise Of A Cult Classic: A Tale of Legends, Love, and Diamonds
The snake motif has personal significance for founder Sotirio Bulgari, and pays homage to her Greek roots and Roman home. The association of snakes in high jewellery has far-reaching historical roots, too. There have been significant legends and stories from Indian, Greek and Roman lore. From the glinting gold asp encircling Cleopatra’s arms and neck, to Prince Albert designing a serpent-inspired ring set with emeralds and rubies for Queen Victoria’s hand, the magnificent motif of the snake has always captivated the fancies of the rich and the famous.
The theme of the snake has been central to Bulgari’s story. The Serpenti has graced several Hollywood luminaries, as well. When the reel-life Cleopatra, Elizabeth Taylor, flaunted the iconic Bulgari Serpenti, the lavish gift was rumoured to be given to her by Richard Burton as a token of his love. The Italian screen legend, Gina Lollobrigida, paired her 1960s Serpenti Tubogas with a sequins and pearl ensemble in Gstaad, solidifying the enigmatic appeal of the Serpenti as a favourite with the movie stars. Earlier in 2023, Priyanka Chopra was seen flaunting the elegant Bulgari Serpenti Seduttori during a family function, while the stunning Serpenti Viper in 18-kt white gold stole the show on Kate Hudson’s wrist during the 2021 Golden Globe awards. These intricate natural diamond adornments have dazzled jewellery connoisseurs every year, and makes for a stunning addition to every collector’s treasured jewels.
Natural diamonds have been the favoured gemstone adorning majority of the Serpenti designs. The meticulous attention to detail and painstaking craftsmanship stands out across its iconic pieces, such as the classic Serpenti Bracelet Watch, as well as the playful Serpenti Misteriosi Secret Watch, that conceals a watch under its diamond-encrusted serpent’s head.
75 Years of Bulgari’s Brilliance
The iconic Serpenti collection from the House of Bulgari celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. Initially crafted as a gold wrist-bound jewel with a square head in 1948, the design evolved in the 1950s to look more like a serpent, with precious jewels like emeralds, rubies and natural diamonds encrusting it. The addition of gemstones such as lapis lazuli, coral, onyx and turquoise to add further details to the scales began lending it an inimitable touch of sophistication. With each year, the Serpenti has allured and enthralled with its enigmatic appeal, and Bulgari effortlessly reinvented itself every year, expanding to include the motif in accessories such as sunglasses and handbags, too.
In a classic show of moving with the times, the dynamic 21st century reinterpretation of the beloved Serpenti magnificently imbues tradition with a touch of the contemporary. Bulgari introduced the “Twist Your Time” collection that features the signature style elements – the Tubogas body and serpent head – with the addition of an elegant wraparound leather strap.
Bulgari’s Serpenti 75 Years of Infinite Tales is an exhibition that showcases the gamut of the evolution of this magnetically charming jewel. In essence, this year heralds a new chapter for the Serpenti, where creativity and craftsmanship are boldly expressed. Every reinterpretation serves as a tribute to the history, beauty and magnificence of this beloved classic. From exceptional timepieces that blend art and mechanics seamlessly to timeless jewels that are heirloom pieces, the Bulgari Serpenti collection remains eternally chic.