Born in 1930, Marina Bulgari initially started her career in the jewellery industry working for her well-established family firm, Bulgari. When her father died in 1973, she managed the international company with her sister, Anna. As granddaughter to its founder, Sotiris Bulgari, Marina had to balance the advantages and disadvantages of a family business.
Jewellery Maker Profile: Marina B
In 1976, when she decided to break away and launch her own brand, she was forbidden to use her family name. She initially named her company, Cisart. Later, she changed it to ‘Marina B.’; the ‘B’ standing as a provocative hint to her lineage.
Marina inherited the family flare for business and design, opened her first showroom in Geneva, 1978. Here she launched her first two collections, named ‘Onda’ and ‘Pueu’. In the same year she opened her own shop in Milan. By 1986 she had moved across the Atlantic, to open her New York boutique.
Made for Modern Women
Marina B.’s powerful designs have been enjoyed by modern women, from Sophia Loren, to Elizabeth Taylor and Princess Grace of Monaco. These modern movie stars where women who worked to support themselves. Although all actresses who were gifted many magnificent jewels by lovers, they also had the means to buy themselves impressive pieces. Marina B.’s bold goldwork, accented only be small pave diamonds, provided the perfect jewellery for such women to treat themselves.
The popularity of Marina B. jewellery with women increased during the 1980s. She embraced unorthodox materials in her fine jewellery placing rock crystal and a rainbow of cabochon tourmalines and topaz in 18k gold or diamonds in stainless steel.
Yet in 1999 she sold the company’s complete stock and archive to the Saudi Arabian Sheikh, retiring to Monte Carlo.
Since 2017, Guy Bedarida has been Creative Director of Marina B. and successfully reviving her ethos. He summarised what ‘Marina B.’, the brand, stands for after a meeting with it’s namesake and founder in Monte Carlo: “It has to be comfortable and worn every day, and occasionally you might wear something outstanding.”
Celebrating the Heritage
Like her family brand, Marina B.’s designs feature a bold and unabashed use of colour.
As the provocative ‘B’ hints, Bulgari is in Marina’s blood. Her designs brazenly incorporate the Tubogas (Gas-pipe) coil first pioneered by her grandfather, Sotiris Bulgari.
A signature Marina B. design features 18k yellow gold with subtle accents in pave diamonds or large colourful cabochon gemstones.
Guy Bedarida, has launched new three collections since becoming Creative Director of Marina B. in 2017: Trisolina, Trisola and Luna. Bedarida summarised these three collections in an interview with the New York Times upon their launch in 2018.
‘Trisolina’ was first showcased for the opening of the 67th and Madison Avenue shop. It celebrates the sensuous harmony of the female form. Its use of lithe titanium and 18k gold create a fluid finish. A ‘Trisola’ necklace is designed to follow and highlight the natural curves of a woman’s body.
‘Trisola’ draws strongly on Marina B.’s family heritage. The designs in this collection are quintessentially Italian and revolve around the iconic ‘Tubogas’ chain. The soft curves of the hand-made links curve around to give the bracelet or necklace a dynamic three-dimensional form. The pieces in this collection are finished at the end points by diamonds. They are a feat of aesthetic engineering, imbued with a timeless chic.
‘Luna’ was the second stand alone collection produced under Bedarida’s direction. The collection is adapted from Marina’s many drawings, now safely kept in an archive. Inspired by Italian architecture during the 1980s the collection has an ode to utilitarianism. Titanium is used to create strong graphic lines. The subtle glamour of the collection is heighten with the use of black gold accented by touches of yellow gold and pave diamonds.