The vast majority of jewelry collections sold at auction are usually those belonging to royalty and extremely wealthy people. The upcoming Sotheby's auction of Suzanne Belperron's (1900- 1983) personal jewelry is an unusual exception for she was a noted French jewelry designer and one of the most influential ones of the 20th century.
The 60-piece lot consists of mainly her own designs. Suzanne Belperron was a beautiful but intensely private woman. So this rare collection currently owned by a private collector therefore speaks for the woman and designer.
|Portrait of Suzanne Belperron|
© Archives Olivier Baroin
The pieces reflects both her exquisite talent and taste. Many of her contemporary designs are distinctly fluid and even curvaceous, all inspired by nature and by exotic cultures around the world.
|Platinum and Diamond Feather Brooch c.1930 (previous Sotheby's auction)|
During her time there, she came up with a new technique of setting precious gemstones (diamonds, rubies, sapphires) into semi-precious gemstones like agate, quartzes and chalcedony as shown by the cuff links below. These were probably created for her husband, Jean Belperron.
|Chrysophase with diamonds and carnelian with emeralds|
She blossomed there and started to attract a noted clientele who came to her via word-of-mouth. Like haute couture designers, her bespoke pieces were designed specifically for individuals who went to her for "fittings".
Back then, the names of jewelry designers were rarely used but eventually the Belperron name appeared in print in the 1930's and soon her designs became a favorite of fashion editors at magazines such as Vogue.
Suzanne also refused to sign her pieces insisting that, "My style is my signature". This made absolute identification of her pieces challenging especially to the untrained eye!
She was very fond of pearls and renewed an interest in natural pearls. This natural pearl and diamond ring is set in platinum and white gold.
She also was skilled with contrast in design. Her two fleur (flower) brooches below play up on shapes and colors. She apparently liked laying the stones on the floor during the design process to access the overall "flash" value as that distance was the approximate one jewelry might be commonly seen.
She revived the company by first using a new name, her own. After the war, she partnered with Herz's son who survived a prisoner of war camp. The business became known as Herz-Belperron. The successful collaboration lasted for 3 decades until her retirement in 1974. She died at age 83.
Suzanne Belperron was a rare jewel indeed. She displayed a life-long devotion to her craft and was both innovative and courageous. A true role model for all jewelry designers who follow her.
Her gorgeous pieces have been featured in a special 2011 book, Suzanne Belperron by Sylvie Raulet and Oliver Baroin (Antiques Book Club). Click here for a review of the book including more beautiful jewelry pictures.
- Sotheby's Geneva : Suzanne Belperron
- Sotheby's : Suzanne Belperron
- Macklowe Gallery Suzanne Belperron biography
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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