Understanding Marina Bulgari, the Entrepreneur Behind the Marina B Brand

New York
Sotheby's is pleased to announce The Bold Standard: Jewels by Bulgari and Marina B, open for bidding from 13-19 May. Spotlighting the statement-making jewels and innovations in design from these two illustrious makers, this auction explores the uniquely bold looks that each house has to offer. Here, we take a closer look at the founder of Marina B, Marina Bulgari.

I n July of 1930, Marina Bulgari was born in Rome, Italy, the newest member of a family whose name is synonymous with luxury: her father, Costantino Bulgari, was the first child of BVLGARI jewelry company founder Sotirios Voulgaris.

Growing up, BVLGARI was a constant in Marina's life. When her grandfather, Sotirios passed away in 1932, Marina's father and uncle, Giorgio, took over the family business. Marina developed a passion for art, design and mathematics at a young age and, after graduating from Saint Mary’s College in England, returned to Italy to begin contributing her designs to the BVLGARI studio. Marina's understanding of jewelry style and proportion made her an asset to the brand, and, in time, she opted to step out on her own. In 1977, Marina founded her own, signature jewelry brand: Marina B.

Marina B (left) with Grace Kelly at the Paris Hotel in Monte Carlo, 1982

Marina opened the first Marina B boutique in Geneva in 1978, and more soon followed in Paris, Milan and New York. In choosing the name 'Marina B', Marina hoped to set herself apart from her family's name and sterling reputation. And in no time, Marina B's bold designs, which incorporate geometric lines and sloping curves with boldly colored gemstones and diamonds, earned Marina her own success.

Indeed, Marina's designs perfectly captured the glitz and glamour of the 1980s, attracting a worldwide audience, including a number of celebrities: Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Grace Kelly were all known to wear Marina B to complement their red carpet gowns.

Almost 45 years after Marina B founded her eponymous brand, her distinct style remains as contemporary as ever. And much as the celebrities of the 70s and 80s graced the red carpet in her creations, her aesthetic continues to appeal to today’s stars, including Rihanna, Alicia Keys and Jennifer Lopez. Her bold designs continue to inspire Marina B’s modern creations, which continue to push the boundaries of jewelry design while respecting the Bulgari family’s extensive jewelry lineage.

(left) Sophia Loren wearing a Marina B necklace, 1993 (Photo By Michael Ferguson/Alamy); (right) Alicia Keys wearing a Marina B GOLD AND DIAMOND 'KAR' NECKLACE while performing at the 2013 Superbowl (Kevin Mazur/Getty) MediaPunch Inc / Alamy Stock Pho/Alamy Stock Photo

Sotheby's is pleased to offer a number of superb Marina B pieces The Bold Standard: Jewels by Bulgari and Marina B, an auction which runs online from 13 – 19 May. The sale features signature Marina designs, such as the 'Ciao' necklace and 'Kar' choker, as well as a number of modern pieces.

Browse & Bid on Marina B

More from Sotheby's

Stay informed with Sotheby’s top stories, videos, events & news.

Receive the best from Sotheby’s delivered to your inbox.

By subscribing you are agreeing to Sotheby’s Privacy Policy. You can unsubscribe from Sotheby’s emails at any time by clicking the “Manage your Subscriptions” link in any of your emails.