On the 13th December 2011. a hush spread around Christie's as seven world auction records were broken in one evening with the sale of Elizabeth Taylor’s most prized jewellery collection. Raising over £74million in mere hours, it was a testament to the extraordinary eye of one Hollywood’s most extraordinary actresses and humanitarians. Intriguingly, but unsurprisingly to anyone who has read even the smallest amount about Taylor, a substantial number of the most valuable sales were all designed by Bvlgari.
This month, Moscow’s Kremlin Museum is hosting one of the largest retrospectives of Bvlgari. With over 500 pieces in the collection, stretching from the early days to contemporary works of the 130-year-old Roman brand, it’s set to be the first of its kind. For fans of old world Hollywood, this is a chance to see Taylor’s mesmerizing collection up close. ‘She was such a close friend of the brand until the very last years of her life’, explains Lucia Boscaini, Bvlgari Brand and Heritage Curator.
Throughout the 1940s Taylor cultivated not only a world-class jewellery collection but her celebrity, starring in films like Jane Eyre and capturing the Western world’s attention – when Time magazine put her on its cover they called her ‘a jewel of great price, a true sapphire’. In 1963 when Cleopatra began shooting in Roman, Boscaini notes she was within touching distance of Bvlgari, a brand she was already well aware of courtesy of a gift by her fourth husband, Eddie Fisher. It was on this set she met her next partner, Richard Burton. As they fell in love, Boscani reveals Taylor fell just as deeply for the Blvgari, aided and abetted by the Roman store’s private meeting room.
See: Elizabeth Taylor's Magnificent Bvlgari Jewellery Collection
‘She spent more than two years in Rome and constantly visited the Bvlgari Via Condotti shop, not as a store, but as a place to meet friends privately. She used to enter from a secondary entrance, a sort of secret entrance, to avoid paparazzi and the crowd', Boscani tells, 'there was an area of the store where they had a very comfortable sofa and that was their private place, where they could hide from the paparazzi and be intimate’.
Naturally, to mark their marriage Burton chose a necklace of emeralds and diamonds, which was made from a Bvlgari broach that was one of the first gifts he ever gave the actress. It is this along with a 65-carat sapphire and other staggering mementoes from directors and lovers that are on view in Moscow. Of the 500 jewels on display, Taylor’s may be one of the rarest but it’s not alone as the exhibition includes work owned by Sophia Loren, Audrey Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman and Monica Vitti.
Boscani adds, ‘This is the largest exhibition ever aired of Bvlgari and we are very, proud to have it in The Kremlin, which is t one of the most famous museums in the world, but it also has one of the most renowned and permanent collection’s of jewellery.’
7 September 2018 – 13 January 201