Cover Sophia Loren is an exemplary actor who is especially beloved by Italians (Photo: Archivi Farabola)

Lucia Boscaini, Bulgari’s brand curator, looks back at some of the most magnificent jewels owned by Italian superstar Sophia Loren

"Did you know that, in 1960, much of Sophia Loren’s jewellery was stolen from a rose-clad cottage in Hertfordshire, England, where she had been staying while filming the romantic comedy The Millionairess? The jewels were worth US$250,000 and included three sets of diamonds, emeralds and rubies, all of which had been stored in a leather case hidden in a chest of drawers. At the time of the theft, Loren was at the airport meeting her film producer husband Carlo Ponti. For identification purposes, detectives were given photographs of Loren wearing the pieces and they also took photographs of marks found on a window, but nobody was ever charged with the robbery, although it has been largely thought that notorious thief Sidney Cugullere was responsible.

"Loren is an exemplary actor who is especially beloved by Italians; to us, she is an icon that represents the very best of our home country. When I first joined Bulgari in 2001, I quickly learned that Loren was a loyal patron and I felt so proud that we are affiliated with such a renowned star. In fact, much of Loren’s stolen jewellery had been from Bulgari. Something I find particularly moving is that Loren’s most important jewel was given to her by Ponti. He gave her a fabulous Bulgari necklace for her birthday while she was filming It Started in Naples (1960) in Capri. Extremely precious, the piece was set in gold and mounted with 48 Burmese rubies that weighed over 60 carats. In our archive, we have a beautiful picture of Loren blowing out candles on a giant cake while wearing the amazing necklace.

"Loren also owns a gorgeous fringe Bulgari suite, complete with brilliant-cut diamonds. In one photograph, while at the Cannes Film Festival, she poses on the red carpet in a graceful white lace dress, surrounded by guards while paparazzi clamber to snap pictures. I really admire Loren’s radiance and humble character. Despite being an admired superstar, she remains down-to-earth; a genuine Neapolitan. She perfectly embodies Bulgari’s approach to jewellery: our creations are magnificent, but at the same time versatile and wearable.

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"It’s always emotional to watch a film and see Bulgari’s jewels on screen. Loren isn’t the only actor to have worn Bulgari on the red carpet. Elizabeth Taylor’s endorsements were certainly among the most impactful; much of her jewellery was gifted by her on-again, off-again husband Richard Burton. Their love story was born on the set of Cleopatra (1963), and sealed in the Bulgari boutique in Via Condotti, where the couple frequently bought amazing jewels. Ingrid Bergman, meanwhile, personally chose the Bulgari creations she wore on the set of The Visit (1964). She felt they best embodied her character: a beautiful and wealthy heiress in search of revenge. We also brought a casket of jewels to the set of Casino (1995) for the famous scene that saw Sharon Stone lie on a big bed, smiling and surrounded by diamonds.

"Our heritage pieces were on display as part of The Art of Craft: The Glamour of Italian Excellence at the Italian Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai. I curated the exhibition, which ran until January 8, and chose 60 jewellery creations that are showcased alongside 20 dresses, which demonstrate the skill and creativity of Italy’s best fashion houses. It makes sense to have jewels worn by leading ladies on display. After all, the worlds of cinema and jewellery share the same goal: to make people dream."

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