For our final Jewel of the Month for 2023, Hancocks London is delighted to shine a spotlight on a truly iconic necklace by Bulgari.
The necklace is from Bulgari’s ’Monete’ collection, which was originally launched mid 1960s, driven by Nicola Bulgari, a keen coin collector who was guided by the beauty of the portraits of Roman emperors and combined them with the simplest of settings. The collection expanded quickly as the reception was so positive and new pieces are being added to this day and are regularly seen on the red carpet with the likes of actress Anne Hathaway wearing a Monete choker and bracelet at this year’s Met Gala.
This necklace, dated circa 1980s, features three ancient Roman bronze coins set in a 18ct yellow gold mounting connected by a classic curb link chain. To preserve the coin’s numismatic value, each one is “sandwiched” between two bezels so that they are not damaged in any way. Each coin also has its information engraved into the jewel so its importance and history is not lost. With this specific piece, the engraving is as follows:
Central: DIVA FAVSTINA 175-176 D.C. (Diva Faustina was the wife of Marcus Aurelius and mother of Commodus)
Left: VESPASIANO 69-79 A.C. (Vespasiano was the Roman Emperor who started the building of the Colosseum)
Right: MAXIMIANVS 306-312 D.C. (A highly acclaimed Roman General that rose to Emperor and for a period ruled with his son Maxentius who was responsible for important building works restoring and improving the ancient capital)
Guy Burton, Managing Director, Hancocks London, comments: “The concept of setting coins into jewellery goes as far back as the Roman empire but it had a resurgence in popularity in the late 19th century. Ancient coins can add as much intrigue to jewellery as sparkling gemstones.
“Bulgari has great respect for the historic value and heritage of the ancient coins used in these jewels, referring to them as ‘Gemme Nummarie’ (coin gems), and any irregularities or signs of wear were preserved.”
“There is serious demand for vintage Bulgari Monete necklaces from collectors all around the world given they are not only remarkable pieces of jewellery, they are also jewelled historical artefacts. We are delighted to present this fine example for sale as a result.”