Bulgari (/ˈbʊlɡəri/,[2] Italian: [ˈbulɡari]; stylized as BVLGARI) is an Italian luxury fashion house founded in 1884 and known for its jewellery, watches, fragrances, accessories, and leather goods.

Bulgari S.p.A.
Company typePrivate società per azioni
Founded1884; 140 years ago (1884)
FounderSotirios Voulgaris
HeadquartersRome, Italy
Key people
Revenue€1.069 billion (2010)[1]
€85.3 million (2010)[1]
€38.0 million (2010)[1]
Total assets€1.490 billion (end 2010)[1]
Total equity€934.0 million (end 2010)[1]
Number of employees
3,815 (end 2010)[1]

While the majority of design, production and marketing is overseen and executed by Bulgari, the company does, at times, partner with other entities. For example, Bulgari eyewear is produced through a licensing agreement with Luxottica, and Bulgari formed a joint venture with Marriott International in 2001 to launch its hotel brand, Bulgari Hotels & Resorts, a collection of properties and resort destinations around the world.

Currently part of the LVMH Group, Bulgari was founded in the region of Epirus, Greece, in 1884 by the silversmith Sotirios Boulgaris (Greek: Σωτήριος Βούλγαρης, Italian: Sotirio Bulgari) as a single jewellery shop that has, over the years, become an international brand. The company has evolved into a player in the luxury market, with an established and growing network of stores.[3]

Etymology edit

The trademark is usually written BVLGARI in the classical Latin alphabet, and it is derived from the surname of the company's founder, Sotirios Voulgaris (Greek: Σωτήριος Βούλγαρης, pronounced [soˈtiri.os ˈvulɣaris]; 1857–1932).[4] Voulgaris is a Greek surname.


The BVLGARI logo was used for the first time in 1934, when its gilded brass letters graced the central doorway of the Via Condotti flagship store.[5] In reference to ancient Rome, the "U" was replaced with the letter "V". Since then, the trademark is stylized BVLGARI in the classical Latin alphabet.[4][6]

History edit

From its origins through the 1940s edit

The Voulgaris were a silversmithing family from the Epirus region of Greece. Whether or not the Voulgaris family of Corfu and the Voulgaris family of the Italian jewelers Bulgari from Epirus share the same paternal line is unclear, but Count Stefanos Voulgaris denied that the Bulgari family of the Italian jewelers family is genealogically related to the Voulgaris family of Corfu.[7] According to chronicles of the Voulgaris family written in Venetian Corfu, the "Voulgaris family of Saint Spyridon of Corfu" descend from the royal figures of "barbarian" peoples, as Greeks used to call everybody who is not Christianized, from the Volga river, who "finally settled in Moesia near the Balkan – Haemus mountains, located in Bulgaria", so the founding fathers of this family were described as descendants of Prince Stefan Lazarević and Khan Tervel, "kings of the Triballi,[8] in the 16th century testament of the family, becoming such by taking refugee in the Venetian island Corfu.[9][10][7]

The founder of the Bulgari brand is Sotirios Voulgaris (Σωτήριος Βούλγαρης), who was born in Paramythia, in March 1857; he originated from the village of Kalarrytes, which was the largest center of silversmithing in the Balkans. He was one of eleven children of his father Georgios Voulgaris (1823–1889) and his Vlachophone Greek mother Eleni Strouggari. In 1881, Sotirios Bulgari moved to Rome and, in 1884, opened his first store on via Sistina 85. In 1888, he married Aromanian Eleni Basio with whom he had six children: Constantine-Georgios (1889–1973), Leonidas-Georgios (1890–1966), Maria-Athena (1891–1976), Sofia (1893–1908), Alexandra (1895–1984) and Spyridon (1897–1932); Leonidas-Georgios is the father of the current chairman of the company, Paolo Bulgari.[11] In 1905, he unveiled the Via Condotti shop that would become the company's flagship.[6] In its early years, Bulgari was known for silver pieces that borrowed elements from Byzantine and Islamic art, combining them with floral motifs. At the time, Paris was the apex of fashion and creativity, and its trends influenced Sotirio's designs for decades: jewels of the early 20s were characterised by platinum Art Deco settings while those of the 30s featured geometric diamond motifs—sometimes set in combination with coloured gemstones. Convertible jewels were also popular during the time, and one of Bulgari's major pieces was the Trombino, a small trumpet-shaped ring.

In 1932 Sotirio died, leaving the business to his two sons, Giorgio (1890–1966) and Costantino (1889–1973), who each had a keen interest in precious stones and jewels. During the Second World War, most new jewellery was crafted out of gold, as gems were scarce, and designs became more natural feeling. As the 1940s came to a close, Bulgari introduced Serpenti bracelet-watches.[12]

Bulgari Via Condotti flagship store

1950s and 1960s: Colour revolution and Dolce Vita edit

In the 1950s, some of Bulgari best-known clients included Elizabeth Taylor, Anna Magnani, Ingrid Bergman and Gina Lollobrigida as Rome earned a reputation as "Hollywood on the Tiber" with the Cinecittà studios.[13]

At the same time, Bulgari went to a new style. The post-war boom saw a return to precious materials, particularly white metals covered in diamonds. In the 1950s, Bulgari launched its first floral brooches—called en tremblant because of their trembling diamond corollas. At the end of the 1950s, Bulgari began to establish its motifs, introducing structured, symmetrical shapes in yellow gold set with brilliant gems—chosen for their colour rather than intrinsic value. Among these multi-hued jewels, cabochon cuts were another innovation. These new pieces were a significant departure from classical Parisian design.

A Bulgari shop in Baku, Azerbaijan

After Giorgio's death in 1966, his son Gianni led the company as co-chief executive with his cousin Marina.[14] Designer and heir to the jewelry legacy, Marina Bulgari, also known as Marina B, passed away on 14 February 2024 in Rome, at the age of 93.[15]

1970s: Eclectic creativity and global expansion edit

During the 1970s, Bulgari stores opened in New York, Geneva, Monte Carlo and Paris. This era marks the beginning of the Group's international expansion, with Gianni as chairman and CEO. A number of new motifs made their debut as well—jewels became recognisable for their angular forms, strong colours, oval elements with cabochons, chains and maxi sautoirs, whilst the predominant use of yellow gold made precious pieces feel all the more wearable, and became known as a Bulgari trademark.[citation needed] In 1977, Bulgari entered the world of horlogerie with the launch of the BVLGARI BVLGARI watch.[16] At the time, Gianni led a complete overhaul of the company, focusing on product design.[17]

1980s: Prêt-à-porter jewellery edit

In the early 1980s, to oversee all production of Bulgari watches, Bulgari Time was founded in Switzerland.[18] In 1984, Paolo and Nicola Bulgari, Giorgio's sons, became chairman and vice-chairman, respectively,[19] while their nephew, Francesco Trapani, became chief executive officer.[6] In 1985, Gianni resigned as CEO and in 1987, he left the family business after selling his one-third stake in the company to his brothers Nicola and Paolo.

From the 1990s to the new millennium edit

Bulgari diversified its brand in 1993 with the launch of its first fragrance, Eau Parfumée au The Vert and the founding of Bulgari Parfums in Switzerland to oversee the creation and production of all perfumes. In 1995, Bulgari pushed ahead with an aggressive programme for growth, becoming listed on the Milan Stock Exchange for the first time. In 1996, the brand launched its first accessories collection, beginning with silk scarves before developing a range of leather accessories and eyewear. In 1999, the brand launched the B.zero1 ring.[clarification needed][6]

The company has seen 150% revenue growth between 1997 and 2003. Bvlgari continues to build up many brands which has made them one of the most profitable luxury brands in the jewelry industry.

21st century edit

The year 2000 was the beginning of an increasingly aggressive period of verticalization for Bulgari, with the acquisition of the luxury watchmaking brands Daniel Roth and Gérald Genta,[20] followed by the takeover of the jewellery firm Crova and of other companies that specialised in leather goods and watchmaking.[21] The opening of the first Bulgari Hotel in Milan in 2004 further confirmed the expansion strategy of the brand, and was the result of a joint venture with Luxury Group, a division of Marriott International. In 2009, Bulgari celebrated its 125th anniversary with a retrospective of the brand's history, held in Rome at Palazzo delle Esposizioni.[22] That same year, the snake—a motif that appeared in Bulgari collections from the 1960s—re-emerged as the emblem of the Serpenti collection.

In 2011, Bulgari signed a strategic alliance with LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, the world's leading luxury group. The agreement was based on a stock transfer of the Bulgari family's shares in Bulgari S.p.A. to LVMH, an all-share deal for €4.3 billion ($6.0 billion), higher than LVMH had offered for any other company.[23] Under the deal, the Bulgari family sold their 50.4 per cent controlling stake in exchange for 3 per cent of LVMH, thereby becoming the second-biggest family shareholder behind the Arnaults in LVMH.[24] The takeover doubled the size of LVMH's watches and jewellery unit, which at the time of the acquisition included Tag Heuer timepieces and De Beers diamond necklaces. The acquisition concluded on 4 October 2011 as Bulgari was delisted from the Borsa Italiana.[citation needed]

In 2014, Bulgari celebrated the 130th anniversary of the brand. To mark the occasion, the shop at Via Condotti 10 was "reimagined" by the architect Peter Marino, and reopened. On the same day, the brand donated €1.5 million to the city of Rome for the restoration of the Spanish Steps.[25] A few months after the Grand Opening, the DOMVS was inaugurated in the redesigned Bulgari boutique, creating a gallery space to house of Bulgari's Heritage Collection.[26]

In 2017, Bulgari opened a new jewellery manufacturing headquarters in Valenza. The largest in Europe, with a total area of 14,000 square metres (150,000 sq ft), the Manufacture has been given a Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification for sustainability in its design.[27] The facility was built over the former home of the first goldsmith in Valenza, Francesco Caramora. The buildings follow the model of a Roman domus, and are built around a central courtyard.[28]

Products edit

Jewellery edit

Bulgari's jewellery collections include B.zero1, Divas' Dream, Serpenti, BVLGARI BVLGARI, Parentesi, and a bridal line.[citation needed]

Watches edit

Bulgari watch

Bulgari's watches collections include Octo, BVLGARI BVLGARI, Diagono and Haute Horlogerie creations for men, and LVCEA, Serpenti, Divas' Dream, BVLGARI BVLGARI, B.zero1 and High Jewellery timepieces for women. It mixes Italian design and Swiss watchmaking. The company's Swiss subsidiary, Bulgari Haute Horlogerie SA, is responsible for Bulgari's watch production. It was founded in 1980 and is headquartered in Neuchâtel. Bulgari Haute Horlogerie SA employs about 500 people.[citation needed]

Fragrances edit

Bulgari Perfume Le Gemme

Fragrances include Goldea, Splendida and Omnia for women, BVLGARI Man, Aqua, the Classics, and Blv Pour Homme for men, whilst BVLGARI Le Gemme and Eau Parfumée.[citation needed]

Accessories and leather goods edit

The creation of Bulgari accessories and leather goods is handled in the Bulgari atelier in Florence, and twice a year presents its collections at Milan Fashion Week.[citation needed]

Bulgari hotels and resorts edit

Bulgari flagship, Fifth Avenue, Manhattan

In 2001, Bulgari formed a joint venture with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, a hotel brand owned by Marriott International, to launch Bulgari Hotels & Resorts, a collection of hotels and resort destinations around the world.[29] Their distinctive settings and Italian design by the architectural firm Antonio Citterio-Patricia Viel characterise the properties of Bulgari Hotel Group.

Although operated by The Ritz-Carlton Company, Bulgari hotels and resorts do not participate in the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program, meaning guests can neither earn nor redeem points for free bookings. It is currently the only Marriott brand to practice this policy, following the inclusion of The Ritz-Carlton Reserve properties to the program in April 2022.[30]

Accommodations edit

Historical edit

0Europe0 Middle E.
& Africa
0Asia &0
Latin Am.
2004 Properties      01 0001
Rooms 00058      58
2005 Properties      01 0001
Rooms 00058      58
2006[31] Properties      01      01      02
Rooms 00058 00059 00117
2007[32] Properties      01      01      02
Rooms 00058 00059 00117
2008[33] Properties      01      01      02
Rooms 00058 00059 00117
2009[34] Properties      01      01      02
Rooms 00058 00059 00117
2010[35] Properties      01      01      02
Rooms 00058 00059 00117
2011[36] Properties      01      01      02
Rooms 00058 00059 00117
2012[37] Properties      02      01      03
Rooms 00143 00059 00202
2013[38] Properties      02      01      03
Rooms 00143 00059 00202
2014[39] Properties      02      01      03
Rooms 00143 00059 00202

From 2015 edit

0Europe0 Middle E.
& Africa
0Asia &0
Latin Am.
2015[40] Properties      02      01      03
Rooms 00143 00059      202
2016[41] Properties      02      01      03
Rooms 00143 00059      202
2017[42] Properties      02      01      02      05
Rooms 00143      120      179      442
2018[43] Properties      02      01      03      06
Rooms 00143      120      260      523
2019[44] Properties      02      01      03      06
Rooms 00143      120      260      523
2020[45] Properties      02      01      03      06
Rooms 00143      120      260      523
2021[46] Properties      03      01      03      07
Rooms 00222      121      260      603
2022[47] Properties      03      01      03      07
Rooms 00222      121      260      603

Properties edit

# Hotel Name Hotel Location Country Opening Year
1 Bulgari Hotel Beijing Beijing China 2017[48]
2 Bulgari Hotel London London United Kingdom 2012[49]
3 Bulgari Hotel Milano Milan Italy 2004[50]
4 Bulgari Hotel Paris Paris France 2021[51]
5 Bulgari Hotel Roma Rome Italy 2023[52]
6 Bulgari Hotel Shanghai Shanghai China 2018[53]
7 Bulgari Hotel Tokyo Tokyo Japan 2023[54]
8 Bulgari Resort Bali Bali Indonesia 2006[55]
9 Bulgari Resort Dubai Dubai United Arab Emirates 2017[56]

Shops edit

Bulgari Hong Kong Boutique

Bulgari has about 300 stores. The largest is the 10-storey Bulgari Ginza Tower in Tokyo, 940 square metres (10,100 sq ft) of retail floor space, including a restaurant and lounge bar.[citation needed]

North American Bulgari boutiques (41 in the US) and distributors are found in Bal Harbour, Beverly Hills, Cabo San Lucas, Chicago, Costa Mesa, Honolulu, Houston, King of Prussia, Las Vegas (4 stores), Los Angeles, New York, Mexico City, Montreal, Orlando, Palm Beach, San Antonio, San Francisco, San Jose, San Juan, The Mall at Short Hills, Scottsdale, Toronto, Vail and Washington D.C.[57]

South American Bulgari distributors are found in Bogotá, Lima, Margarita Island, Quito and São Paulo.[citation needed]

Partnership with Save the Children edit

In 2009, Bulgari began a partnership with Save the Children, including a co-branded jewellery collection, of which a portion of the proceeds goes to the charity.[58] As of 2018, Bulgari's contribution has totalled $80 million.[citation needed]

Bulgari Art Award edit

The Bulgari Art Award is an annual art award in partnership with the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Sponsored by Bulgari, the $50,000 acquisitive cash award plus $30,000 residency in Italy is presented to mid-career Australian artists.[59]

The winners include:

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Annual Report 2010" (PDF). Bulgari. Retrieved 19 May 2011.
  2. ^ Wells, John C. (2008). Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (3rd ed.). Longman. ISBN 978-1-4058-8118-0.
  3. ^ "Head of Italian luxury goods firm says new hotel venture will boost profits". CNN. 13 February 2011.
  4. ^ a b "Fashion Brands: Bulgari". The Fashion Model Directory. Retrieved 1 December 2021.
  5. ^ "The Bulgari logo". Museo Del Marchio Italiano. Archived from the original on 14 June 2021. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d Triossi, Amanda; Mascetti, Daniela (2009). BVLGARI. Milan: Electa. pp. 9–17. ISBN 978-8-8370-6492-1.
  7. ^ a b ""Булгари" да се наричам първа радост е за мене" [To be called "Bulgarian" is my first joy]. Trud. Archived from the original on 27 April 2016. Retrieved 1 December 2021.
  8. ^ ""Булгари" да се наричам първа радост е за мене - trud.bg". Archived from the original on 27 April 2016.
  9. ^ Stefanos Konstantinos, Voulgaris (April 2010). Ek Voulgareōn: hena oikogeneiako chroniko: plērophories gia tē mesaiōnikē Valkanikē [From the Bulgarians: An anecdotal family chronicle: Information on the medieval Balkans]. Bookstore of "Estia", I.D. Collarou & Sias. ISBN 978-9-6005-1321-9.
  10. ^ Danova, Penka (2015). "Le fonti della cronaca Bulgari" [Sources of the Bulgari Chronicle]. Études Balkaniques (in Italian) (2): 5–34.
  11. ^ "Βούλγαρης Γ. Σωτήριος "Ο κοσμηματοπώλης των βασιλέων"" [Voulgaris G. Sotirios "The jeweler of kings"]. Reporter (in Greek). 23 January 2014.
  12. ^ "From the origins". Bulgari. Archived from the original on 16 November 2018. Retrieved 19 July 2018.
  13. ^ Meylan, Vincent (2015). Roma Passion Jewels: Talking with Paolo and Nicola Bulgari. Milan: Mondadori Electa. ISBN 978-8-8918-0454-9.
  14. ^ "Bulgari: the man, the enigma". The Age. Melbourne. 8 January 2007.
  15. ^ Bates, Rob (15 February 2024). "Acclaimed Designer Marina B Dies". www.jckonline.com.
  16. ^ "70 eclectic creativity". Bulgari. Archived from the original on 16 November 2018. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  17. ^ "Gianni Bulgari". Enigma. Archived from the original on 11 January 2013.
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  22. ^ "Bulgari. Tra Eternità E Storia. 125 Anni Di Gioelli Italiani" [Bulgari: Between Eternity and History. 125 Years of Italian Jewels]. Palazzo delle Esposizioni (in Italian). 22 May 2009.
  23. ^ Roberts, Andrew; Lachapelle, Tara (7 March 2011). "Bulgari Takeover 82% Costlier Than Hermes for LVMH: Real M&A". Bloomberg BusinessWeek. Archived from the original on 10 March 2011. Retrieved 1 December 2021.
  24. ^ Betts, Paul (7 March 2011). "Bulgari is new jewel in LVMH crown". Financial Times. London. Archived from the original on 1 January 2015.
  25. ^ "Bulgari's Spanish Steps donation a €1.5m 'gift' to the people of Rome". The Guardian. London. Agence France-Presse. 20 March 2014. Retrieved 1 December 2021.
  26. ^ "Bulgari inaugura una Domus per collezioni storiche e gioielli delle star" [Bulgari inaugurates a "home" for historical collections and jewels of the stars]. Corriere della Sera. Milan. 24 October 2014. Retrieved 1 December 2021.
  27. ^ "Maniffattura Bulgari". U.S. Green Building Council. 11 July 2017.
  28. ^ Beckett, Kathleen (30 March 2017). "Bulgari Creates a New Jewelry-Making Center". The New York Times.
  29. ^ Ricci, Manfredi; Robins, Rebecca (26 April 2012). Meta-luxury, Brands and the Culture of Excellence. Palgrave Macmillan. p. PT91. ISBN 978-1-1370-0566-3.
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  38. ^ "2013 Annual Report". Marriott International. p. 20.
  39. ^ "2014 Annual Report". Marriott International. p. 17.
  40. ^ "2015 Annual Report". Marriott International. p. 5.
  41. ^ "2016 Annual Report". Marriott International. p. 7.
  42. ^ "2017 Annual Report". Marriott International. p. 7.
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  44. ^ "2019 Annual Report". Marriott International. p. 6.
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  47. ^ "2022 Annual Report". Marriott International. p. 6.
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  49. ^ "Bulgari to Open London Hotel in 2012". Women's Wear Daily. 14 February 2011.
  50. ^ "Bulgari's First Ever Hotel is An Impressive 58-room Establishment Aiming to be the Town Jewel". Official Bespoke. 19 January 2007.
  51. ^ "Bulgari Hotels Just Opened Their First Paris Outpost, and It's Just As Chic As You'd Expect". Travel + Leisure. 2 December 2021.
  52. ^ "Bulgari Inaugurates Luxury Hotel in Rome: A Historic Homecoming". Pursuitist. 11 June 2023.
  53. ^ "The Bvlgari Hotel Shanghai Opens". Luxury Travel Advisor. 2 July 2018.
  54. ^ "Bulgari Hotel Tokyo Opens". Hospitality Net. 5 April 2023.
  55. ^ "Bulgari Resort, Bali to Open in October 2006". Five Star Alliance. 31 May 2006.
  56. ^ "First Bulgari hotel in Dubai confirms opening date". Gulf Times. 31 October 2017.
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  58. ^ "Jewellery – Save The Children". Bulgari. Retrieved 1 December 2021.
  59. ^ a b "Bulgari Art Award". Art Gallery NSW. Retrieved 1 December 2021.
  60. ^ Harford, Sonia (12 April 2013). "Sweet win for artist seeking refuge in discards of modern life". The Age. Retrieved 10 March 2022.
  61. ^ Blake, Elissa (27 April 2017). "Bulgari Art Award 2017: Tomislav Nikolic". Sydney Morning Herald.