A symbol of rebirth, eternity and seduction, the snake has long been a signature motif in Bulgari’s designs. It first appeared in the brand’s 1940s bracelet watches, which gracefully coiled around the wearer’s wrist and were often festooned with a sparkling array of diamonds and coloured gemstones. So popular were these sexy timepieces that the Italian jeweller later developed its Serpenti collection to include jewellery such as necklaces and bracelets.
Up till today, Bulgari’s fascination with the snake prevails. This year, it released the Serpenti Viper rings, a range of simple but chic bands embellished with scale-like details. And, more recently, it launched SerpentiForm: Snake Through Art, Jewellery and Design, an exhibition of over 150 ophidian-inspired artworks, antiquities, costumes, photographs, and the brand’s archival watches and jewellery.
Noteworthy pieces include a serpentine ruby and diamond-studded bracelet-watch from 1954 — with the snake’s jaws opened to reveal the dial inside — and a stunning 1969 gold necklace crafted in polychrome enamel, emeralds, diamonds and a sapphire cabochon. Not only are they beautiful; these jewels also provide an intriguing glimpse of the collection’s history, and allow visitors to trace its journey over the years. There is also an eye-catching installation of 500 video mapped scales and Serpenti jewels projected on the wall, making for a rather immersive viewing experience.
“The snake has inspired many different artists in different historical periods and countries, so we wanted to let visitors see just how deep and fascinating this icon can be,” said Lucia Boscaini, Bulgari’s Brand and Heritage Curator. “You also get the full story of the snake’s evolution in Bulgari’s jewels, from the beginning of the ’40s to present creations.” The ongoing presentation takes place at the ArtScience Museum, and closes 15 October. It was first held in Rome last year on a smaller scale, and will travel to Tokyo in November.
Click through for highlights of the SerpentiForm exhibition and Bulgari’s latest Serpenti collection of jewellery, watches, bags and accessories.