Luxury brand BVLGARI, founded by Greek silversmith Sotirios Voulgaris

Bulgari Japan

BVLGARI is a world-leading luxury brand known for its fine jewellery, watches, fragrances, accessories and leather goods.

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Although it is one of Italy’s most prominent brands, it was actually founded by Greek silversmith Sotirios Voulgaris and his sons, who turned it into one of the most recognized labels worldwide.

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Luxury brand BVLGARI, founded by Greek silversmith Sotirios Voulgaris 1

Sotirios was born in 1857 in a small village in the Pindus Mountains in northern Greece, an area known for its exceptional silversmith art—a refined skill passed from father to son since the Byzantine Era.

Voulgaris was one of eleven children and the only one to survive, continuing the family tradition of life as a jeweller.

His passion for jewellery began with his grandfather Constantine, a street vendor in the villages of Epirus.

Due to issues with the Ottoman authorities, who still occupied Epirus then, the Voulgaris family was compelled to move to Corfu and Naples in 1877 before making Rome their home in 1881.

The Voulgaris family specialized in creating unique silver earrings, belt buckles, and sword sheaths. His father trained Sotirios in his craft, displaying a real artistic flair and a keen business mind.

During this time, Sotirios entered into a partnership with a Greek sponge merchant, showcasing his silver pieces among the sponges in their Via Sistina shop, located near the present site of the Hassler Hotel.

Voulgaris opened his first store in Rome
Sotirios Voulgaris and sons

Voulgaris opened his first store in Rome in 1884. As the business took off, he decided to change the name to a more Italian-sounding company, which is when it became Bulgari.

Voulgaris opened the Bulgari flagship store at Via Dei Condotti 10 in 1904 with his sons, Konstantinos and Giorgios. The Bulgari store quickly built its reputation for luxurious, exceptionally well-crafted Greek and Roman-inspired designs and became popular amongst wealthy tourists visiting Rome.

After Sotirios’s death in 1932, his sons took over and gave it a fresh look and feel, introducing the pink and beige Italian marble that has become synonymous with the brand.

The brothers also changed the logo to BVLGARI, and the brand officially took off.

Bvlgari boutique Prague Czech Republic
Bvlgari modern shop
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In 1967, the third generation of the Voulgaris brothers, Giorgios’ three sons, took over the Bulgari business. Throughout the 1970s, Bulgari expanded internationally, opening stores in New York and Paris and gaining a celebrity following from style icons such as Sophia Loren, Audrey Hepburn, and Elizabeth Taylor.

bvlgari jewelry

Fast forward to 2011, and LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE (LVMH) acquired the family-controlled Bulgari company for an incredible $6 billion USD, the highest amount LVMH had previously ever offered for any other company.

BVLGARI Japan Store
BVLGARI Japan

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