Bulgari is an Italian jeweler and luxury goods retailer. The trademark is usually written "BVLGARI" in ancient Roman style, and is derived from the surname of the company's Greek founder, Sotirios Voulgaris (1857-1932). The name Voulgaris itself contains the root word Βούλγαρ Greek for "Bulgarian". Furthermore in the company's native Italy the word Bulgari means "Bulgarians" or people of Bulgarian descent, which further emphasizes this linguistic root. Although the company made a name for itself with jewelry, today it is a recognized luxury brand that markets several product lines including watches, handbags, fragrances, accessories, and hotels.
Sotirios Boulgaris began his career as a jeweller in his home village Paramythia (Epirus, Greece), where his first store is still to be seen. In 1877 he left for Corfu and then Naples. In 1881 he finally moved to Rome, where in 1884 he founded his company and opened his second shop in via Sistina.
The current flagship store in via dei Condotti was opened in 1905 by Bulgari with the help of his two sons, Constantino (1889-1973) and Giorgio (1890-1966). The store quickly became a place where the world's rich and famous came for the unique, high quality jewelry designs combining Greek and Roman art.
Bulgari opened its first international locations in New York City, Paris, Geneva and Monte Carlo in the 1970s. For many years the company maintained a showroom in New York's The Pierre Hotel. Today Bulgari has more than 230 retail locations worldwide.
In 1984 Sotirios' grandsons Paolo and Nicola Bulgari were named Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the company and nephew Francesco Trapani was named CEO. Trapani's goal to diversify the company was started in the early 1990s with the release of the Bulgari perfume line. Under his tenure the company has established itself as a luxury goods brand recognized throughout the world.
In 1995 the company was listed on the Borsa Italiana. The company has seen 150% revenue growth between 1997 and 2003. Currently outside investors hold about 45% of the company's stock.
In the beginning of 2001 Marriott International formed a joint venture with Bulgari Spa to launch a new luxury hotel brand, Bulgari Hotels & Resorts. Luxury Group, the Luxury Division of Marriott operates Bulgari Hotels & Resorts as well as the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. Bulgari opened its first hotel in Milan in 2004, and a second in Bali in 2006. Bulgari is the supplier of luxury goods used in guest suites and public areas aboad the ships of the Italian cruise company Silversea.
North American Bulgari boutiques are found in Atlanta, Beverly Hills, Bal Harbour, Boca Raton, Boston, Chevy Chase, Chicago, Costa Mesa, Dallas, Honolulu, Houston, New York, Las Vegas, Mexico City, Palm Beach, San Francisco, and Waikiki. An 18th location has been confirmed to open in Scottsdale, Arizona in April 2009.
The company's Swiss subsidiary, Bulgari Time S.A., is responsible for Bulgari watch production. It was founded in 1980 and is headquartered in Neuchatel. Bulgari Time SA employs about 500 people.
Today, Bulgari watches make up approximately 29% of the company's total turnover. Bulgari has started developing its own calibers and parts, including highly complicated mechanisms and basic calibers. The Bulgari watch collection comprises the following lines: Bulgari-Bulgari, Assioma, Rettangolo, Ergon, and Diagono.
At BaselWorld 2006 Bulgari unveiled the complicated Assioma Multi Complication watch, equipped with tourbillon, perpetual calendar and second time zone.
For over a century, Bulgari has been setting the pace for Italian style in jewellery. A forward-looking, creative spirit which never ceases to draw inspiration from the timeless beauty of Greek and Roman art, while giving it a distinctive contemporary touch. Greek like its founder, Sotirio Bulgari - and Roman like the culture he embraced.
Pure luxury obtained by means of daring combinations, precious materials, purity of design and meticulous attention to detail.
Bulgari jewelry design is distinctive and often imitated (and counterfeited). In the 1970s, many of the more expensive Bulgari pieces (such as necklaces, bracelets and earrings) were characterized by instantly recognizable, bold, almost brutal designs combining large and weighty gold links with black-surfaced steel. Genuine Bulgari items usually have a unique serial number that is registered with the company.
The environmental group WWF rated a number of luxury brands for sustainable practices in a report called Deeper Luxury, Bulgari came ninth out of the ten brands with the lowest possible rating (F).