Bulgari honours its beloved serpent by reinterpreting its form in the new Serpenti “Eyes on Me” collection, discovers CANDICE CHAN
they say the eyes are the windows to the soul. And it is through the eyes of the serpent, Bulgari’s most emblematic symbol, that the Italian jeweller chose to unveil the latest Serpenti “Eyes on Me” collection. Composed of precious rings, bracelets and necklaces from entry-level all the way to high jewellery masterpieces, it showcases the serpent in new forms, placing emphasis on its head.
A recurring leitmotif in Bulgari’s creative language since the 1940s, the serpent has evolved through the years, taking on several guises both abstract and figurative. The original snake-shaped designs took the form of sinewy bracelet watches with coils made in mesh or the tubogas technique. It was only in the 1960s that the brand aligned itself with ancient Greek and Roman mythology to present more realistic interpretations of the serpent.
It is these figurative portrayals of the snake that have been adapted this year for the new Serpenti “Eyes on Me” jewellery. With the focus on the serpent’s head and its penetrating gaze, the designs come varied: Rounded or sharp, flat or three-dimensional, skeletonised or in solid form, and in plain gold or adorned with diamonds. The new hexagonal scale pattern found on the jewellery is also inspired by older designs. Imitating the scales on a serpent, it is interpreted in different ways throughout the collection.
Headlining this collection are two high jewellery necklaces that proudly display the innovative prowess of the 132-year-old jeweller. The first is a flexible piece crafted from pink gold and adorned with diamond pave and snakewood, a rare and flexible hardwood known for its scaled look and luxurious sheen. Presented in the head over tail design that Bulgari introduced in 2015, the earthy tones of this bejewelled serpent is complemented by its piercing diamond-set stare.
The other necklace in platinum, diamonds and emeralds shows the serpent on a pendant for the first time in the Serpenti range. Dangling prominently like a proud medallion, the snake’s head is decorated with alternating diamond and emerald scales while its green emerald eyes scintillate seductively.
As a symbol of life, wisdom, vitality and eternity, the serpent has been found in jewellery since antiquity. Cleopatra wore them (decoratively and often as a talisman to ward off bad luck), as did Queen Victoria, Elizabeth Taylor and Diana Vreeland. Although the snake has played muse to numerous jewellers across time, it is Bulgari’s Serpenti that is the most enduring.
A STILL LIFE PHOTOGRAPH BY GUIDO MOCAFICO, EXHIBITED AT THE SERPENTIFORM ART EXHIBITION
high jewellery necklace in platinum, diamonds and emeralds
Bracelet in white gold, diamonds and emeralds