Photos by Chinh Phan & Michelle Watson

Houston, Texas – May 1, 2014 – The Houston Museum of Natural Science hosted a celebratory gala in honor of BVLGARI’s 130 Years of Masterpieces exhibition. Showcasing approximately 150 pieces created by the renowned Italian jeweler, this collection chronicles BVLGARI’s evolution back to its beginnings in 1884. The exhibition – the most substantial Bulgari retrospective to feature the Heritage Collection – highlights jewelry that defined a pivotal period in Italian design and includes many pieces from the personal collection of Elizabeth Taylor. Also in the collection are never-before-seen pieces on loan from local collectors Lynn Wyatt, Joanne King Herring, and Christina Girard. The exhibition explores the cultural context in which the pieces were created, including innovative uses of sketches, photographs, and other archival materials that helped reveal a fascinating intersection of celebrity, design, and fine craftsmanship. Enhanced by highly interactive technology, the displays allow visitors to experience the designs in remarkable ways.

“The exhibit has come to Houston for 130 years of the company because Houston is a mirror of Bulgari values – it’s a bold, powerful, daring entrepreneur city, always forward thinking in exactly what Bulgari stands for in the world of jewelry, so it’s a great match,” said Bulgari CEO Jean-Christophe Babin.

Approximately 220 guests gathered at the Houston Museum of Natural Science for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres as they admired the stunning jewelry presented. An Italian dinner with Mediterranean influences was served in a room designed to evoke the Spanish Steps (Piazza di Spagna). Floral chandeliers and an abstract representation of Rome – conveyed through mirrored and framed images surrounded by terracotta pots with colorful azaleas – imparted a Spanish vibe. With crystal candlelit tables set with pink-hued flowers, guests enjoyed dinner with a live performance by modern pianist Elizaveta in the center of the room.
Opening remarks were given by the Houston Museum of Natural Science’s Windi Grimes, Chair of the Board of Directors; Joel Bartsch, President and CEO; Bulgari’s Jean-Christophe Babin, CEO; and Nicola Bulgari, Vice Chairman.

Among notable guests were actress Naomi Watts and Veronica Bulgari. Also hard to miss was a bevy of glamorous women decked in Bulgari jewels, including Lynn Wyatt, Joanne King Herring, Sima Ladjevardian, Greggory Burk, Isabel David, Becca Cason Thrash, and Christina Girard. Others in attendance were former Chairwoman of the Houston Museum of Natural Science Board of Directors, Windi Grimes; Joel Bartsch, President and CEO and Curator of Gems and Minerals of the Houston Museum of Natural Science; Nicola
Bulgari, Vice Chairman of Bulgari; Jean- Christophe of Bulgari; and NFL superstar JJ Watts.