At first glance, this is a sapphire and diamond sautoir, a long necklace displaying an ornament where the strands unite. It was created by Italian jeweller Bulgari in 1969, and given as a gift from Richard Burton to Elizabeth Taylor. Its detail, upon closer inspection, is dazzling: a detachable diamond pendant, set with sugarloaf cabochon sapphires, weighs approximately 52.72 carats and may also be worn as a brooch. The pendant is set with a calibré-cut sapphire trim and bullet-cut diamond accents, hung on a pavé-set diamond chain. This is one of the rare sautoirs, if not the only one of its kind, that was mounted in platinum rather than yellow gold. It was reacquired by the Italian jeweller for its Heritage Collection, and to see this piece among nearly 150 others from the Bulgari collections on display at San Francisco’s de Young Museum is to clearly understand Bulgari’s striking artistic vision. The Art of Bulgari: La Dolce Vita & Beyond, 1950–1990 exhibition runs until February 17, 2014.
November 19, 2013