taranto-en - Commissariato Italiano Esposizione Universale di Shanghai 2010

From the Gold of Taranto to the Gems of Bulgari: The magnificence of Italian craftsmanship from past to present

Demonstrating the magnificence of Italian craftsmanship throughout the ages, an exhibition of the finest Italian jewellery opens today on the second floor of the Italian Pavilion. Gems and precious metals from the Archaeological Museum of Taranto in southern Italy will be displayed alongside an exquisite selection of items from Bulgari’s Museum Collection. Running from October 2 to 31, the exhibition – “Gold of Taranto” – features pieces dating from 600 B.C. to the 19th century – a powerful testament to Italy’s continued design excellence.

The 80 pieces of fine goldsmithery on loan from the Archaeological Museum of Taranto constitute not only invaluable historical testimony to how the working of precious metals, particularly gold, evolved in this important city of the Magna Grecia between the 4th and 1st century B.C., but also fully embody the splendour of the period. Gold rings with engraved stones, diadems, earrings and bracelets are among the works on display. Worn in life as in death, some of these objects are imbued with profound symbolic meaning, such as the funerary crowns made of ultra-fine gold leaf gilded onto precious materials.

Exhibited alongside masterpieces from the “Gold of Taranto” will be the Bulgari Museum Collection. Bulgari established itself as a jeweler with a distinctive talent in integrating classical and contemporary styles. The sense of volume and original chromatic combinations became the distinctive features of the ‘Bulgari style’, and gave rise to extraordinary works of art. Approximately 40 one-of-a-kind jewels, created between the ‘20s and ‘90s will be exhibited, including several of the first bracelets and watches from the Serpenticollection, which marked the beginning of Bulgari’s success in the watchmaker’s art. Other items of great interest include a number of classic jewels from the famous Tubogas line, with its signature flexible metal weave of two tubular chains, whose absence of soldering requires an enormous amount of meticulous craftsmanship. The intricacy and luxury of Bulgari jewels have captured the hearts of many, cultivating a strong following among Royalty, Hollywood sirens like Sophia Loren, Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor and present stars, like Sharon Stone, Michelle Yeoh, Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Zhang Zilin, Ma Yanli, Lv Yan, Li Xiaolu, and Huang Doudou.

“Italian luxury jewellery is synonymous with the same style and elegance that defines the Italian way of life,” expressed Beniamino Quintieri, Commissioner General of the Italian Pavilion. “A strong illustration of Italian creativity and excellence in design, this exhibition also highlights the outstanding technical skills of our designers and the fundamental role this has played in creating our world-leading reputation.”

“This exhibition –Mario Resca, Director General for the Promotion of Cultural Heritage of MiBAC (Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities) declared – demonstrates once again that the way my department has taken to promote and improve our great cultural heritage is right, thanks also to the collaboration with first-level indivuduals and enterprises.”
Jewellery design enjoys a rich, diverse and passionate history in Italy. Stemming back three thousand years to the Etruscans who populated present-day Tuscany, many feel the beauty and perfection of technique they achieved working with gems and metals has never been matched. This exhibition is a vivid portrayal of the strong tradition of craftsmanship that has enabled Italy to maintain its preeminent position in jewellery design over the centuries. Today, Italy – the powerhouse of the European jewellery industry – continues to make fashion history with both classical and contemporary styles.