As Ms. Monroe famously sang, "diamonds are a girl’s best friend" – but if you can’t afford said sparklers, perfume is your next best option (in my humble opinion). Especially when it comes to the latest dazzling offerings from Bulgari which are as mood-lifting as any pretty gem.
Each perfume in Bulgari’s Le Gemme Reali trio (Nylaia, Rubina and Veridia) is inspired by the precious stones sapphire, ruby and emerald respectively. The muse for all three was Empress Theodora, the allegedly very glamorous wife of Justinian, the 17th Roman emperor. (I like to think of her as the Brigitte Macron of her day). Apparently there exists a mosaic portrait of her, decked out in an impressive tiara with a trio of the above three stones. In tribute, perfumer Alberto Morillas has conjured up three scents she probably would have enjoyed spritzing on en route to her next gladiator match, Ovid recital or some other swanky affair. The bottles are even shaped as amphorae (a Roman or Grecian jug used to transport perfume, spices and other precious goods). It certainly cuts a dashing figure on a dressing table in lieu of a tiara draped Monroe-esque style over the mirror.
Morillas explains “It was a case of creating a strong emotion with a few words, as in a poem and to express the intensity of their colour – blue, green or red…” Bulgari are known for using brightly coloured gems in their designs and Le Gemme Reali’s bottles are no exception. I rather love my emerald green version that houses Veridia; the colour instantly screams “Wicked Witch of the West” and cuts a dashing figure on the dressing table. The scent itself is equally spellbinding, a beguiling blend of milky vanilla, with green, slightly mossy galbanum (a sacred plant gum traditionally used in religious offerings) underscored with rich notes of frankincense. It’s a regal yet nuanced bouquet – not the kind of knock-you-for-six Knightsbridge scent you might have been thinking of; there’s an air of refinement and restraint that adds to its smoky mystique. It’s enough to make you want to don a toga and gem-encrusted tiara oneself (or at least make you feel like you’re wearing one).
The other two scents are definitely worth a sniff: Nylaia based on the sapphire, with warm notes of iris and musk, while Rubina on the ruby combines Sicilian mandarin and rich sandalwood. All are available now from Bulgari, 168-169 New Bond Street, Mayfair W1S 4RB