From Rome With Love: Bulgari’s 1950s-Era Diamond Necklace

Few jewelers embodied the exuberance of the post–World War II era better than Bulgari. Founded in 1884, the Roman jewelry house hit its stride in the ’50s and ’60s, when its “distinctive style, unique aesthetics, and fine craftsmanship earned it a reputation among the master jewelers of the world,” says Terry Chu, deputy head of the jewelry department at Sotheby’s Hong Kong. Exhibit A: this 1950s diamond necklace, which sold at Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels & Jadeite sale in Hong Kong on April 6 for $1.7 million. Although the piece lacks the colored stones and yellow gold that would become Bulgari’s signature, its monochromatic palette, symmetrical lines, and big stones were spectacularly on-trend. Anchored by a 7.04 ct. pear-shape diamond flanked by six smaller stones, the necklace also features four pear-shape gems hanging from the back clasp—an added bonus of sparkle when the wearer pulls up her hair to let her lover undo the clasp. Buona sera, indeed!

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