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Lucire: Living

The magnificence of Bulgari



Bulgari at the Grand Palais


Clive Owen and Julianne Moore


Lucire: Can you explain to us how this idea came together?

Amanda Triossi: This is the second large Bulgari retrospective. The first one was in 2009 in Roma to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the first Bulgari boutique in Rome in 1884. The Bulgari house decided to present our large retrospective in Paris in this special place (Grand Palais) where it is the first time that a famous jeweller (such as Bulgari) presents a retrospective in the large nave of the Grand Palais. This exhibition in Paris is even larger than the one that was held in Roma. The exhibition in Roma had around 500 objects; here we have 603 objects so there are considerably more pieces on display. Normally, a retrospective exhibition will only feature around 300 hundred or 350 objects, so we are presenting almost double the number!

My job is to find jewellery for the Bulgari house, jewellery that represents historical importance, creating a permanent retrospective collection for the house. For Bulgari and me, this process was of high importance, however it was also a very expensive procedure, but soon it began to mature and evolve to arrive eventually at this point.

Here in Paris, it is a special exhibition because most of the objects that we have exposed are also from a number of people who have a collection of Bulgari jewellery and who have allowed us to borrow their collection to show them to the public at the exhibition. So these particular pieces of jewels were obviously never seen in an exhibition, they were also never published; it is an exceptional experience to see them. We see them now, but we may never see them again later.

From 600 pieces that are featured in this exhibition there are 40 per cent that come directly from Bulgari, the rest come from private collectors. Imagine trying to contact people and convincing them to give us their jewellery. If they accept, they will not be able to wear their jewellery for various special occasions.

It was a difficult procedure, but I suppose that we were able to achieve our goal since there is a number of beautiful jewellery here.

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What was the first thing that went through your mind when you knew that you will be coming and presenting the exhibition in Paris?

The first time was [takes a deep breath], ‘Oh my gosh!’ It was a great challenge!

Now, I am very happy that we succeeded. So far we have had more than 100,000 visitors, so it is a very big, big success! It is great to see everyone looking through the glass to look at all the jewellery … it is very touching. But it is not only my work, it is also the team’s work; but putting all the jewellery together was my job …


Can you explain the idea of visitors entering into a ‘black diamond’ structure?

This idea is based upon entering into the heart of a precious stone.


Can you tell us what impression you would like visitors to have attained when they walked through the exhibition?

It is really important that one looks at the jewellery as artistic objects, like looking at a statue or a painting. I think people who love jewellery understand this perspective. It is not only the question of the number of carats—this of course does serve as a part of a piece of jewellery—but it is not the essential aspect.


How would you describe Bulgari?

I think that Bulgari is about colour and it is also bold as well as containing a daring element. The jewel should be wearable, mixing different materials: precious and semi-precious gemstones or porcelain … as you’ll see. All materials work together to make a work of art, which is the jewel.

So if I have to sum it up, I would say that Bulgari is colour, boldness and this daring use of material.


What can you say about the exhibition’s success?

Thanks to the success of this exhibition, Bulgari is currently planning to hold a third retrospective in another continent in September 2011 in Beijing in a national museum in China.


With the Bulgari exhibition landing in Roma, Paris and now Beijing, do you think that there will be other possible international destinations in the near future?

Of course, for me, it will be a dream. The problem is how can we persuade the lenders to give up … surrender their pieces for such a long time? This is my challenge, trying to find and make jewels available. •


Francesco Trapani, Bulgari CEO, and Lenny Kravitz

Claudia Cardinale, Francesco Trapani, Bulgari CEO, and Nicola Bulgari, Bulgari Vice-President

Jean-Louis Scherrer

Johnny Hallyday and Læticia Hallyday

Beatrice Bulgari and Olivia Magnani

Anouk Aimée



Lola Saab is Paris editor of Lucire.



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Adapted from issue 25 of Lucire



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