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Bulgari celebrates its 125th anniversary with giant Paris exhibit

The venerable Italian fine jewelry house Bulgari is commemorating its 125th anniversary with a huge exhibit at the Grand Palais in Paris. Bulgari: 125 years of Italian Magnificence will run from December 10 through January 12, 2011.

On display will be some 600 shiny baubles, including famous jewelry worn by the biggest movie stars of the century, including the stunning diamond and emerald brooch Elizabeth Taylor wore at her first wedding to Richard Burton, alongside sparklers worn by style icons Sophia Loren and Grace Kelly.

The exhibit is divided chronologically into periods and the retrospective begins with designs using silver and diamonds from the first half of the 20th century (Bulgari opened its first boutique on Rome's Via Sistina in 1884), then shows the creative turn taken in the 1960s with the emergence of a new style combining precious stones with rarely used original materials. The exhibition continues with the eclectic style inspired by 1970s pop art, the bold designs of the 1980s and '90s, right through to the spectacular designs of the 21st century.

In addition to the baubles themselves, drawings, cinema stills and original items from private collections never yet publicly exhibited in France, including Bulgari's own vintage collection, will also be on display.

The Chinese blog Red Luxury reported on Tuesday that in a major publicity move to ramp up in the Chinese market, Bulgari will be bringing the large jewelry exhibit to Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shanghai in early 2011. Bulgari has sales of $1.3 billion (RMB 8.9 billion) a year that lags far behind that of industry leader Cartier with $3 billion in sales and Tiffany with $2.7 billion. Cartier is currently the number one fine jewelry brand in China.

For more information about the Paris exhibit visit: