Jewelry & Watches

7 Things You Didn't Know About Bulgari's Signature Serpenti Design

An early admirer of the motif was film star (and jewelry collector) Elizabeth Taylor.
IMAGE BULGARI
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The serpent, or snake has been a popular jewelry motif since the Egyptian era. Though the snake is feared and dismissed as evil, the slithering reptile is also a symbol for “wisdom, rebirth, sexuality, renewal, change, and fertility,” which is why the snake has become one of the most recognizable motifs for Italian jewelry and luxury goods brand Bulgari.

Here are seven things you didn’t know about Bulgari’s Serpenti collection.

1. Serpents are a part of Bulgari’s heritage.

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Bulgari was founded in Rome, Italy in 1884 by Sotirio Voulgaris. A Greek-born silversmith, Voulgaris frequently drew inspiration from his heritage for his designs. Upon his death, his sons continued to develop what we know now as Bulgari’s distinct style using Greek and Roman classicism, the Italian Renaissance, and the 19th-century Roman school of goldsmiths—all of which feature the serpent.

2. The Serpenti theme began in the 1940s.

The brand was a pioneer in turning the “millenary motif into a watch timepiece.” And ever since then, the snake-inspired motif has become an icon in the world of jewelry.

3. A special technique is used to fashion Bulgari’s serpent.

To create the Serpenti, Bulgari used a style called Tubogas. It’s inspired by an ancient Roman technique that involves twisting twine to fashion jewelry. Tubogas style was used in Bulgari’s first Serpenti watches, and is inspired by the gas carrier pipes that were in use during the 1920s.

4. One of the Serpenti’s most famous fans was Elizabeth Taylor.

Elizabeth Taylor, one of the biggest movie stars of the 20th century, was a big fan of Bulgari. Once, Richard Burton even quipped, “The only Italian word Elizabeth knows is Bulgari.” The motif was thrust into the spotlight after a gold Serpenti bracelet was made especially for Taylor, and she subsequently wore it to play Cleopatra.

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5. Bulgari has offered the Serpenti in several variations.

In the 60s, the Serpenti was offered in several variations: From yellow gold and white gold to enamel, as well with striking gemstones and in diamond-encrusted versions. Today, Bulgari continually gives new life to the motif through new interpretations using different designs and materials.

6. The Serpenti has even slid its way into Bulgari’s leather goods.

In 2012, Bulgari launched the Serpenti Forever line of bags. The elegant shoulder bags are accessorized with a light gold-plated serpent head closure which comes in different colors of enamel. True to Bulgari’s luxurious style, customers are able to choose from the serpent’s eye to be in malachite or jade. The bag appears frequently on the shoulders of celebrities such as Julianne Moore, Emmy Rossum, Olivia Palermo, and Bulgari accessories ambassador Bella Hadid.

7. Bulgari has released an edgy studded Serpenti Forever this season.


In keeping with Bulgari's spirit of innovation, the Serpenti Forever is continually updated every season with new colors and functions. For its newest collection, the brand creatively uses free-spirited designs, explosive graffiti, cutting-edge studs, and metallic leathers.

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Bulgari is located at Greenbelt 4, Ayala Center, Makati.

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Paolo Chua
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