Glistening bright colors, bold contrasts and profuse proportions are Bulgari style through and through. Bulgari is the brand that brought sparkle to ‘la dolce vita’ with their cascades of colorful cabochon cut sapphires, thick gold chokers set with ancient Roman coins and rings with attitude that make most other jewelers seem coy and retiring. This strong house style shines through in the latest high jewelry pieces. The history of Bulgari reads like a novel. Son of a family of silversmiths, the enterprising and skilled craftsman Sotirio Boulgaris (1858-1932) emigrated from his native Greece following the outbreak of war in the Balkans between the Russians and the Turks. Sotirio Bulgari, as he later became known, eventually found his way to Rome. At one point, following a robbery at his fledgling Naples store, he found himself with 80 cents in his pocket selling silver objects from a stall in front of the French Academy in Rome. Lack of a licence soon stopped him from trading but in three days he had made enough to move on and secured a corner to display his wares in the window of Greek sponge merchant. By 1900, Bulgari set up his first shop selling silver, antiques, jewels, bric-a-brac and “curiosities” at 28 via dei Condotti. From there he prospered and expanded, with his two sons eventually taking over and concentrating on the antique silver and jewelry-making side of the business. Their move into 10 via dei Condotti in 1905 and its subsequent expansion and remodeling sums up their growing success and role as purveyors of fine jewelry against a back drop of antique silver. Sotirio’s grandsons Gianni, Paolo and Nicola nurtured the fame and strong style of the house that delighted the dolce vita crowd and subsequent incarnations of the ‘beautiful people’ du jour. Throughout these years, Bulgari has become a legend wreathed in glamorous tales and an air of seductive and infectious indulgence only the Italians can pull off in style. Richard Burton, while filming “Cleopatra” at Cinecitta, remarked of his 1963 visit to the Condotti shop to buy Elizabeth Taylor a ring: “I introduced her to beer, and she introduced me to Bulgari.” Andy Warhol would stop by the shop when he visited Rome “because it is the best exhibition of contemporary art”and queen of Italian style, Sofia Loren was often snapped darting through the elaborately faceted glass door of the Condotti boutique. And with pieces like these, the glamour of Bulgari lives on, tempting divas to indulge their passion for sumptuous and sexy jewels.