The Best American Jewelry is ….. Italian?!

It seems strange, I know! But our iconic stars and stripes, our great red, white, and blue look absolutely AMAZING in the hands of an iconic Italian jewelry designer. Happy 4th of July, gem gals!!! You know I like to celebrate some uniquely American aspect of jewelry every July, and this year is no exception.

Now typically, when people think of American jewelry that’s patriotic, flag pins are probably what come to mind. Something your grandma has in her jewelry box somewhere. Or maybe something with an eagle on it. Plenty of American jewelry has flags or eagles to showcase patriotism.

Your standard parade-viewing flag pin

Bulgari comes to America

But the best American jewelry of all is when Italian jeweler Bulgari created the Stars & Stripes collection. It was back in 1972, and they wanted to do something big because they had just opened their New York City store. Lead designer Nicola Bulgari was an avid coin collector and history buff. She wanted to use coins and the flag motif to create something bold and unusual. Since it was 1972, they got Cher to model some of the pieces they created in Vogue magazine.

Cher models Bulgari’s Stars & Stripes collection, 1972 – check out that necklace and earrings!

Instead of using rubies, rhinestones, and sapphires to show off the red, white, and blue, Bulgari changed things up a bit by using coral, diamonds, and lapis lazuli. The pieces were such a hit that Bulgari continued to make their American themed jewelry well into the 1980’s.

Bulgari Stars & Stripes Bracelet
Bulgari Stars & Stripes Bracelet

Bulgari necklace General Lafayette
Bulgari necklace, front - General Lafayette, back “the defender of American and French Liberty." Eagle and fleur-de-lis.

Nancy Reagan wears Bulgari