Bulgari’s Serpenti celebrates 75 years of eternal tales and female empowerment
The tale of the Serpenti and its mistress has always enamoured the world. We’re not talking about a mere piece of jewellery that’s coiled around the wrist for special occasions, but a personal talisman and confidant – one that becomes an ally from the moment it finds its wearer. As the Bulgari Serpenti celebrates its 75th anniversary this year – a true testament of its timelessness – there couldn’t be a better time remember the endless metamorphosis of this fashion icon.
Slithering into hearts since the ‘40s
The Bulgari Serpenti has been immensely successful in its transformation over the past decade, so it may come as a surprise to some that its tale actually began way back in the late ‘40s. The snake itself has been a symbol of love, health, medicine, immortality, and even wisdom for centuries, and in Japan particularly, good luck. Greek and Roman mythology believed the creature possessed transformative and regenerative powers for its ability to shed its skin, while the ouroboros – another emblematic serpent of ancient Egypt and Greece – represented the concept of eternity and endless return.
The Serpenti first manifested itself as a jewellery watch in 1948, designed to be wrapped around the wrist with a linked body that was crafted using the Tubas technique. This technique, which showcased flexible tubular bands of precious metal without soldering, was way ahead of its time and demonstrated the brand’s masterful goldsmithing, thereby setting the tone of the Serpent’s spirit of innovation.
Over the years, the Serpenti has undergone striking colour combinations and taken on unconventional materials, cementing and encouraging Bulgari’s status as a master jewellery.
By the 50s, the snake shed its stylised skin to become more figurative, an eye-catching transformation that saw ruby, emerald, or diamond eyes on its slender head. But it was ultimately the 60s that saw the biggest evolution in the Serpenti, when the first secret jewellery watches featuring a dial concealed by the head were created for women – an empowering movement that changed the way they wore jewellery and navigated the constraints of society.
The Serpenti woman
Bulgari has always drawn inspiration from its muses, so it’s little wonder that the Serpenti is always empowering, expressive, and audacious. Famous Hollywood stars that have donned the symbol with pride include the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Marisa Berenson, and Charlize Theron, as well as Alicia Vikander, Naomi Campbell, and Zendaya. Even style legend Diana Vreeland couldn’t resist the serpent’s charm.
But the Serpenti was created to empower everyone, and Bulgari has roped in some of the most prominent international contemporary artists for the Serpenti Factory to showcase the eclectic nature of the icon in a whole new light. Created in line with its 75th anniversary, the project will see collaborations with names such as Refik Anadol, Davide Quayola, Daniel Rozin, Sougwen Chung, and Cate M, who will develop exclusive artwork for the occasion, each as evocative as the next. The Serpenti Factories across the world will feature the works of their local artists throughout the year, highlighting the versatility, multi-faceted, and adaptive nature of the snake and its jewellery.
An eternal icon
Staying in fashion after 75 years can be a challenge that many fail to succeed in, so you know that something is truly special when it not only stays in fashion, but also relevant after that long. Bulgari’s Serpenti has transcended the simplistic belief that its jewellery is just a status symbol. It’s also the face of endless metamorphosis and confidence, one that has guided women and lent empowerment at every step of the way. No surprise then, that it’s still as revered today as it was 75 years ago.
Find out more about the Bulgari Serpenti here.
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