Bulgari on Parade: Despite recessionary bruises, the luxury jewelry house stages a glittery 125th-birthday retrospective.

Elizabeth Taylor wears Bulgari in 1957; courtesy of AP.

Elizabeth Taylor once said that when her lover Richard Burton took her to Bulgari jewelers on the Via Condotti in Rome, “I would get so excited that I would jump on top of him and practically make love to him,” right there in the store. No wonder Burton showered Taylor with Bulgari during their torrid affair, which began during the filming of Cleopatra in Rome in the early 1960s. For their first engagement—remember, they married twice—Burton gave Taylor a diamond and emerald brooch. For the first wedding, he supplied the matching necklace. The ensemble was so regal that it became known as the Grand Duchess Vladimir’s suite because it looked like something a Russian aristocrat would wear. Taylor has worn the pieces at key moments in her life: when she met Queen Elizabeth, when she won the Oscar for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and when Helmut Newton photographed her in her swimming pool in 1989. “I introduced Liz to beer,” Burton said, “and she introduced me to Bulgari.”