The first B.zero1 ring appeared in 1999. Interpretations of this abbreviation vary: some talk about the first design of the new millennium, some talk about the symbol of the beginning infinity (however, in the case of a Bvlgari ring, both are true). But one thing is certain: behind the letter B is a great Italian brand that has created one of the main design pieces in the history of world jewelry art. It is common for Bvlgari to revolutionize style, both aesthetically and technically. Let us recall the semi-precious stones, set in gold next to precious, daring color compositions, among which the combination of emerald, amethyst and turquoise will seem the most calm; The all-metal Tubogas pipe, borrowed from the automotive industry and has been the basis of flexible necklaces and spiral bracelets since the mid-1940s.
Some of the jewelry was inspired by the image of a snake, while others - codes of industrial design and architecture. It is not surprising that the spiral structure of the B.zero1 ring is associated with the main symbol of the Eternal City - the Colosseum. Already then, 20 years ago, B.zero1 jewelry was avant-garde for its time: a powerful expressive design with a hidden technological highlight instead of the brilliance of diamonds and a noticeable double logo on the side flat rings.
It is important that the spiral, located at a slight angle to the rings bounding it, could contract and expand slightly. This subtle movement gave rise to conjectures about the complex spring mechanism enclosed within. However, the secret is simple: at the base of B.zero1 there are two interconnected metal strips that are wound on hollow tubes with different cross-sectional diameters, which determines the size of future rings. The design with wound ribbons is cut across, so that future rings are obtained in different widths (three, four or five turns), and flat rings with a double Bvlgari Bvlgari logo are attached to the processed cuts.
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The first B.zero1 ring from 1999 with a five-row spiral was crafted in yellow gold. Later, white metal was added, and after a few years the collection was replenished with watches, bracelets, earrings, pendants. These pieces - in silver and black ceramics - have become a symbol of Bvlgari's charity initiative to protect the rights of children around the world, carried out in conjunction with Save The Children. But the main metamorphosis was experienced by the ring itself, which literally immediately became a bestseller. Creative experimentation touched the central part - a spiral shaped like the Colosseum, while the very construction of the iconic Bvlgari icon remained intact from year to year.
For the tenth anniversary of the B.zero1 ring, British-Indian sculptor Anish Kapoor placed a convex steel plate, polished to a high shine, between two rings of rose gold. In the same 2010, black and white ceramics with engraving imitating the Tubogas spiral were used for the first time in the rings. The same relief was applied to the colored marble inlays in the 2012 version. For the 130th anniversary of Bvlgari (2014), a special edition of Bvlgari Roma was launched with bronze-colored ceramics combined with rose gold. In 2016, one of the first B.zero1 prototypes, created in the late 1990s, was realized, according to which three types of gold were combined in a ring at once. The ring was named B.zero1 Perfect Mistake.
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Perhaps the most notable chapter in the redesign story involves the name of Zaha Hadid. The architect "rebuilt the Colosseum": he deconstructed the central part of the ring, making it asymmetrical and skeletonized. The project began in 2015, and the premiere of B.zero1 Design Legend ready-made jewelry took place two years later, after Hadid's death.
For the 20th anniversary of iconic design, Bvlgari is re-issuing the original ring in five turns in three types of gold - each monochrome series is limited edition and marked with a commemorative XX Anniversary engraving. For the first time, the B.zero1 will appear in a solid rose gold version. The anniversary collection also includes updated B.zero1 Design Legend rings, bracelets and pendants with white and black ceramic inlays. According to Bvlgari CEO Jean-Christophe Babin, over 2 million B.zero1 rings have been sold worldwide over these two decades, with sales increasing by 20% in the past five years. This means that the design, developed at the turn of the millennium, remains fresh, innovative, ready for the most daring experiments.
Mauro Di Roberto
Director of Jewelry Marketing, Bvlgari
- 20 years ago you were already in the Bvlgari team?
- Yes, and was responsible for sales in North America. The brand has always had a craving for new things - design, materials, stones, communication method. Several years before B.zero1 we launched the Chandra porcelain jewelry collection. If you look at the industry 20 years ago, you will not find rings as strong in design - simple, powerful, expressive, without precious stones. I think B.zero1 is part of the Bvlgari mentality.
- What is special about the structure of the ring?
- Two "ingredients": design and logo, which has nothing to do with the logomania that swept the world by the beginning of the 2000s. It's just engraving, like on a stone or an old coin. In 1987, we launched the Bvlgari Bvlgari watch, whose look was reminiscent of ancient Roman coins, and then we decided to transfer the logo to jewelry. At that time, few people would have dared to wear jewelry with the name of the brand - too strong a message. And the double name became a game, part of the design.
- What do you think is the secret of his longevity?
- This design was able to adapt to different eras, materials, styles, while maintaining its architectural harmony and ability to move. And 20 years later, it is still relevant and popular, including among the younger generation - urbanistic, modernist, bright.
- And today B.zero1 jewelry is worn in the same way as before, or in a different way?
- Now there is a strong trend of stackability ("stackability" in translation from English. - "): to put on a lot of jewelry, wear them in layers, collect bracelets on one hand. By the way, B.zero1 from the very beginning created just such an image - as if three or four rings were put on the finger at once. But in reality, it is a way to show your personality, personal taste and choice, it is an important element that complements your image. The concept has not changed, but the target audience has changed. So the challenge for the brand today is to make as many people as possible know about our design icon, so we go to the younger generation, to millennials. In recent years, a lot of B.zero1s have been bought on social networks, mainly three- and four-row rings. Let's see what the response will be to the new five-row rings, but I think they are most suitable for men. It's funnythat we specifically did not position the gender of B.zero1 in any way - the men themselves realized that this ring suits them.
creative director at Bvlgari
- When the first B.zero1 ring appeared, did you already work for the company?
- Yes, but at that moment I was not yet involved in the development of jewelry design, I was buying stones. I remember how many sketches preceded the appearance of the ring. As a result, Paolo Bulgari chose yellow gold. For the first time, the logo was used in jewelry as part of a design - we transferred it from the bezel of a watch. Thus, the new item combines two Bvlgari icons: the logo and the Tubogas spiral. Before that, we had no solid gold jewelry without colored stones.
- For a person who deals with stones, is B.zero1 a different type of jewelry?
- Yes, the main thing in this decoration is design. But the same design is also in our high collections: we do not just string stones one by one - there is a certain idea, a drawing. There are always linkages between the stones. And experiments with materials. We used ceramics, colored marble, pavé from diamonds, blue topaz, citrines, amethysts. But I just like gold rings or Zaha Hadid's designs. Now we are thinking about materials for future versions of B.zero1 - they should be durable and valuable.
- Can you imagine B.zero1 with a large stone?
- A large stone will prevent the ring from shrinking. The spiral will lose its properties.
- Has the way of wearing a ring changed over the years?
- Personally, I once wore just a ring of yellow gold on one hand and white on the other. For me, this collection combines everything - you can wear two rings on one finger or on one hand, put on several pendants of different lengths at once. One ring is a basic option, for example, to go to the gym or go on vacation. Several rings are an evening option, suitable for a gala dinner. By the way, B.zero1 serves as a wedding ring for many, both for men and women. This is a very versatile piece of jewelry.
- Was B.zero1 immediately created as a unisex item?
- 20 years ago, we did not think that both women and men could wear it. We realized this later when we sold the first thousand rings. And they began to make them thinner and narrower, so that men could wear them calmly.
- How long does the production process take?
- All rings are made at the Valenza manufactory. A full cycle, including polishing, engraving, logo application, takes a whole day. Lots of handmade work. Let me tell you one secret: to remove the golden spiral from the base, craftsmen use baking paper.>