In 1884, Greek silversmith Sotirios Voulgaris opened his first shop in Rome offering exquisite silver objects and adornments to wealthy English and American tourists traveling through Italy on the Grand Tour. As he found success he changed his name, and that of his business, to the more Italian-sounding Bulgari.
In 1905 he relocated the Bulgari flagship to the fashionable Via dei Condotti near the Spanish Steps and, at the encouragement of his two sons, shifted the family business from silver ornament to high jewelry. The firm quickly developed a reputation for exceptional craftsmanship and their jewels reflected the fashion of the times dictated by Paris, the artistic capital of jewelry design. As the century progressed, Bulgari embraced a colorful and vibrant aesthetic that captured the carefree modernity of La Dolce Vita, establishing a true Italian sensibility separate from the constraints of French influence.
During this era the exuberant glamour that has come to define the Bulgari style came into full bloom. The 1960s brought Hollywood stars and the jet set elite to Rome, and with them came international attention. Paparazzi captured Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren and others wearing the house’s bold creations further expanding Bulgari’s reach and stylish influence around the world.
Looking to the future, the house has established the Bulgari Jewelry Academy, a rigorous apprenticeship program designed to train the next generation of master craftsmen in both traditional and innovative jewelry-making techniques and ensure that everything Bulgari creates will continue to be made in Italy.