03 Aug Suzanne Belperron’s Signature Style
Suzanne Belperron was more than an artist. When it came to jewellery design, she was a virtuoso. She was never a household name, but when it came to her jewellery, she left her mark which is why she never signed her pieces. She claimed, “my style is my signature.” And it was and still is.
By 1932, Belperron moved from Maison Boivin to work as a designer for Bernard Herz. While she was with Herz, one of her most influential clients was not a socialite or an actress. It was not even a woman but rather King Edward VIII. He of course, was buying for Wallis Simpson who was married to Anglo-American businessman, Ernest Simpson. The firm realised the importance of their new client and would ensure every request or detail was met.
When the King abdicated, his orders became more lavish. One of the most sumptuous is this chalcedony, sapphire, and diamond parure made for the duchess in 1937. It consists of a double strand of chalcedony beads highlighted by two carved chalcedony leaves with diamond veins and topped by sapphire cabochons. It was accompanied by a large “flower” brooch set with carved chalcedony movable petals, centring sapphire cabochons and accented by round diamond “rays.” Two carved bangles topped with a row of chalcedony beads completed the look. It was monochromatic, yet dynamic. It was fit for the charismatic duchess. Later the Duke replaced the leaf clasp and redesigned them as ear clips, and the flower brooch then became the choker’s clasp.
Belperron created jewellery that spoke volumes because her designs were voluminous. She was original and before her time. Her jewellery still is.