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AUTHENTICITY

January 15, 2019

By Noelani Piters

HOW TO SPOT REAL BVLGARI JEWELRY

RealStyle | How To Spot Real Bvlgari Jewelry SHOP AUTHENTIC BVLGARI JEWELRY
In 1884, Greek silversmith Sotirio Bulgari forever cemented his place in the history books by doing one thing — opening his own jewelry shop. From that point on, Bulgari worked diligently to produce fine jewelry that represented the best of Italy with time-honored craftsmanship, innovative design and the most luxurious materials. During the 1934 renovation at its Via dei Condotti flagship, Bvlgari officially incorporated the Latin “v” into its brand name as well as above its storefront, paying homage to Rome’s ancient past. Unfortunately, however, Bvlgari’s coveted nature and to-die-for designs have led to fake pieces popping up left and right for decades. Read on as Senior Valuation Manager Katherine Ward sheds light on how to spot a few key Bvlgari jewelry pieces.

Bvlgari B.zero 1

RealStyle | How To Spot Real Bvlgari Jewelry

A Bvlgari 18k white gold B.zero 1 ring and a B.zero 1 ring featuring diamonds.

What can you tell us about the B.zero 1 collection?
Introduced in 1999, the B.zero 1 collection is one of Bvlgari’s most successful of all time. Two BVLGARI-engraved flat rings bookend a central spiral. The collection includes necklaces, earrings, rings and bracelets, but I find the ring to be most representative of the collection. This is likely because it is so evocative of Rome’s Colosseum, the inspiration for the design.
I’ve seen a few ‘close but not quite’ attempts by counterfeiters, but they usually miss the details. Imitators will copy elements from the real thing without knowing why they are there, like ring sizes, and sometimes employ them incorrectly. Part of our authentication process includes confirming that the stamped ring size corresponds to the actual ring size. Counterfeiters often stamp random numbers to emulate the effect.
What elements of craftsmanship do you expect to see in this line?
Precision in the construction of the wrapped element around the ring, as well as crisp application of the BVLGARI design element. Our fine jewelry and watch experts use industry-standard 10x magnifying loupes to examine pieces in minute detail.
What materials are most frequently used for B.zero 1 pieces?
Pieces from this line are most often crafted from 18k gold. The collection has expanded to include a variety of materials including ceramic, diamonds and gemstones like jade and lapis.
RealStyle | How To Spot Real Bvlgari Jewelry
What kinds of brand identifiers or signatures does Bvlgari use for this collection?
Bvlgari’s contemporary production of the B.zero 1 ring includes the ring size, an Italian manufacturer’s mark (Made In Italy), a mark to indicate metal fineness (in this case, ‘750’ for 18 karat gold), a European Common Control mark and BVLGARI. For rings, these can be found at the ring’s interior.
If a B.zero 1 piece comes with paperwork and packaging, what are you looking for in terms of authenticity?
We look for quality of assembly. Sloppy folds or excess glue are red flags, as well as content — if the address of the Bvlgari store in Rome isn’t described as ‘Via dei Condotti, 10,’ that’s a definite sign that the paperwork and packaging — and possibly the jewelry contained within — are inauthentic.

Bvlgari Parentesi

RealStyle | How To Spot Real Bvlgari Jewelry

A Bvlgari 18k white gold Parentesi pendant necklace.

What can you tell us about the Parentesi collection?
Bvlgari introduced the Parentesi (Italian for “parentheses”) collection in 1982, the interlocking design inspired by the stone roads of Rome. The Parentesi collection defined an effective day-to-night aesthetic for working women. These pieces were the perfect accompaniment to a woman’s power suit. As a result, the look inspired a great deal of the sincerest form of flattery. Bracelets, necklaces and earrings have been copied frequently and with varying degrees of inferior quality.
What elements of craftsmanship do you expect to see in this line?
Well crafted jewelry, both solid and hollow cast. Often flexible Parentesi cuff bracelets are constructed with gold reinforced with a steel interior frame, so a magnet comes in handy when examining them.
What materials are most frequently used in this line?
This line typically utilizes 18k gold, steel and diamonds. The minimalist design has been a blank canvas for the jeweler to showcase a range of gemstones, both faceted and cabochon.
What kinds of brand identifiers or signatures does Bvlgari use for this collection?
The stamps on a Parentesi piece can vary depending on the year it was produced. Italian and international laws govern what stamps should be applied and why. A piece that features signs of age and wear should bear marks consistent with hallmarking conventions of the eighties or nineties. For the pendant necklace above, ‘BVLGARI’ will be included on clasps and charms near the clasps.
If a Parentesi piece comes with paperwork and packaging, what are you looking for in terms of authenticity?
Documentation should be of a commensurate age to the piece, or indicate that it was issued by Bvlgari after the fact. Bvlgari does a fabulous job presenting their jewelry in boxes and wrappings which are substantial and aesthetically consistent with their designs.

Bvlgari Tubogas

RealStyle | How To Spot Real Bvlgari Jewelry

A Bvlgari 18k Tubogas rose gold, stainless steel and onyx bracelet.

What can you tell us about Tubogas pieces?
Bvlgari introduced the Tubogas designs for watches and jewelry in the late 1940s. The word itself translates to ‘gas pipe’, a wry post-war industrial take on luxury. Tubogas pieces are characterized by flexible mesh links and frequently incorporate the brand’s logo. The flexibility and fluidity mimics a serpent, foreshadowing the inevitable development of the inimitable Serpenti line.
What elements of craftsmanship do you expect to see in this line?
Consistency in high quality, but it’s important to keep in mind the history of the collection. Bvlgari has been continually creating Tubogas pieces since their introduction and continues to produce new iterations today. Each decade marks advancements in jewelry design and production technology, so a Tubogas from 1949 may be comprised of different elements than one from the nineties. Both, however, retain the iconic style and and quirky sense of humor.
What materials are most frequently used in this line?
We see Tubogas pieces made of 18k gold in various colors, steel and fabulous variations featuring diamonds and gemstones.

RealStyle | How To Spot Real Bvlgari Jewelry

What kinds of brand identifiers or signatures does Bvlgari use for this collection?
Construction is key with this design. Imitators often fail to execute the same quality workmanship essential to such a fluid piece. I use my 10x magnifying loupe to examine points where two pieces of metal were soldered together, as well as to look for signs of poor casting like porosity (remnants of air bubbles from the casting process) and rough, unfinished edges.
If a Tubogas piece comes with paperwork and packaging, what are you looking for in terms of authenticity?
I keep an eye out for anachronistic details when documentation is called into question, often by inspecting the document under magnification to see revealing details. For example, a laser-printed certificate dated pre-1970s is suspicious, since laser printers weren’t invented until the 1970s.
Snag our best Bvlgari jewelry with this editor-approved roundup here.
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