When you are born into success, sometimes it is hard to leave that security to forge your way alone, yet that is precisely what Marina Bulgari did.
Some Early History
The daughter of Costantino Bulgari and granddaughter of Sotirios Bulgari - founder of the Italian luxury jewelry brand - Marina exhibited design talent at an early age. When her father passed, she continued to make pieces for Bulgari, yet she desired to create a line under her name and left the family business to start Marina B in 1976.
Marina Bulgari traveled to popular cities across Europe to exhibit her pieces, and she opened a showroom in 1978, which was followed by boutiques in New York (1986), Paris (1987), and Japan (2002). Marina was known for her use of bold colors and the luxurious feel that combined timeless quality with a modern vision.
Forging Her Own Path
She wanted to honor her family’s name and legacy while also having a voice of her own, which shone through in her opulent signature styles. In 1978, Marina launched her Onda and Pneu collections, which featured spring mountings, interchangeable features, and pave diamond detailing.
Marina B is also known for a particular way of cutting gemstones called the Chestnut cut. Developed in 1980, the Chestnut cut is a fusion between a triangle and pear shape to create a truly unique look. Marina was innovative in developing her gemstone facets while reinventing classic cuts. Her contemporary designs, heavily inspired by her Italian heritage, combined with influences from the Middle East, Asia, and the Art Deco period.
High Profile Clientele
Notable fans of Marina B’s style of jewelry making were Princess Grace, who met Marina at the Paris hotel in Monte Carlo in 1982, and Sophia Loren wore the “Terry” choker at a high profile awards show.
With Change Comes Revitalization
In 1993 Marina moved to Monaco and continued to design jewelry until she retired. Since then, the business has undergone a few changes. Marina sold the business in 1999 to Ahmed Fitaihi. In 2011 the chief executive at Windsor Jewelers, Paul Lubetsky, who is currently a minority shareholder in the company, purchased Marina B.
True revitalization finally came in 2017 when Guy Bedarida acquired a majority stake in Marina B. He is the former Creative Director and Head Designer at John Hardy. Bedarida sold his stake in John Hardy and sought out a literal hidden gem to bring back to life. When he heard that Marina B was coming up for sale, he jumped at the opportunity to breathe new life into the company. Bedarida currently serves as the Creative Director at Marina B.
Since the 2017 transition, an effort has been made to broaden the range of Marina B products with three distinct lines. Their everyday jewelry includes new designs and pieces that are inspired by Marina B’s former products, some of which draw their inspiration from the 12,000 sketches by Marina that were acquired when the company changed hands. Another collection concentrates on producing designs that are classic Marina B styles, and there also is a high jewelry line of more expensive pieces.
The name of Marina B has been revived and revitalized, and it seems as though the company’s namesake is doing a bit of that herself. Marina Bulgari currently lives in Monaco while her brand marches on under new and strong leadership.