All text, and images © 2014, Debra Healy
unless otherwise stated.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Suzanne Belperron, the Genuine Article

Updated February 14, 2016 

Suzanne Belperron Platinum and diamond bracelet for Bernard Herz 1936

Vogue 1936, mannequin with the above 
  bracelet by Suzanne Belperron
Suzanne Vuillerme later Belperron (1900-1983), was born in Eastern France.

She was intrepid, courageous,  and extraordinarily talented.  Suzanne Belperron was one of the most innovative and original jewelry designers of the 20th century.

As a young woman She left home to study art at the École des Beaux-Arts in Besançon. She was hired  by Jeanne Boivin head of the firm founded by her husband Rene Boivin who died in 1917. The  Boivin firm was well established,  they were known for their bold designs. Suzanne Vuillerme married civil engineer Jean Belperron in 1924.
Gold and diamond brooch by Boivin after a design by Suzanne Belperron
Belperron distinguished herself at Boivin. In 1932 left Boivin to work with a Bernard Herz.

Dress design Madame Gres

Suzanne Belperron was a beautiful  stylish woman with a tremendous eye for style and design.
I can  imagine her wearing the creation of Madame Gres during the 1930's-1940's
with her wonderful jewelry

Ring, yellow gold, fancy colored diamonds.

She literally pushed the boundaries, in this bracelet the stones are hanging over the edges.
She was masterful in her use of multiple stone setting technics.

 In this brooch she used, pave set diamonds in patinum  and yellow gold  bezel set rubies.
the patterns and surface textures are dynamic

Yellow gold bezels and pave set rubies with yellow diamonds.

Bracelet, yellow gold, sapphire beads, sapphires, and diamonds.
By Susanne Belperron circa 1940

Suzanne Belperron wears a Clip brooch at the decollete, with one of her signature rock crystal rings.

Clip brooch, rose Quarts enamel, and yellow diamonds.

Clip brooch rock crystal enamel and diamonds

Photogragh by Hoyningen-Huene 1934
 Jewelry by Belperron for Herz

The Dark history of the war years in France.

Suzanne Belperron was a much sought after European jewelry designer. She  was a jeweler's jeweler. In 1939 she received numerous letters with job offers urging her to leave Europe.  She wanted to stay with her husband who was working in occupied France.

Bernard Herz was an important pearl dealer in Paris. Herz was also Jewish, like so many of the French Jews he was deported. Madame Belperron secured Benard Herz's release once, but failed a second time. Bernard Herz was sent to a camp. Many Jewish families and merchants were in fact turned in to the Nazis by the French.

Heroically In 1941 Suzanne Belperron set up a holding company under her name to protect the remaining assets of the Herz family,  for Bernard and his son Jean.  Herz's buisness had been declared a Jewish enterprise; as such like many Jewish properties, the assets were subject to theft and unregulated sales which benefited the Germans and the French collaborators.
Sadly Bernard Herz died in 1943.  His son Jean survived the war. He returned to Paris and in 1946.  The firm of Herz-Belperron was born.

Suzanne Belperron's use of carved hardstones, like rock crystal, smoky quartz, rose quartz, and chalcedony was unique. She made hardstone sensual and soft,  by  playing with voluptuous shapes and surface finishes (matte or polished). She inlaid these evocative carvings with precious stones in innovative settings.

Ring rock crystal, diamonds and cabochon emerald.

Ring designs by Madame Belperron.

Bracelet, carved smoky quartz, and cabochon sapphires.

Clip brooch, chalcedony, pearls, and diamonds by B. Herz 1933

 Chalcedony diamonds brooch and earrings B. Herz.

 Clip brooches rock crystal, enamel and diamonds

 Brooch, chalcedony, yellow gold, with calibre-cut  emeralds  and cabochon-cut emeralds.

A fantastic collection of Belperron  hardstone and gem-set flower brooches
These are the real thing!

Suzanne Belperrom did not sign her work nor did she have a poincon (French Hallmark) her pieces were signed by the ateliers that worked for her. Some are signed by B Herz, and Herz-Belperron. This is why the NEW book about Suzanne Belperron is be called

Jewelry By Suzanne Belperron: My Style is My Signature 
It is Availeble NOW
in  French Vogue September 1935  mention is made of  Madame Belperron  a Chez Herz.
Pictured here is the wife of the artist Max Ernst, photographed By Horst.

Suzanne Belperron dress clips smoky quartz platinum and diamonds 1935

Madame Belperron  had many stellar clients amongst the taste and style makers, royalty, and celebrities of her day, like  Diana Vreeland, and Elsa Schiaparelli, and the Duchess of Windsor, to name just a few.
Diana and Reed Vreeland at El Morroco 1938.
Mrs. Vreeland is wearing her Belperron bracelet.
Photo by Jerome Zerbe from the Power of Style by Annett Tapert and Diana Edkins
Image of Mrs Vreeland's bracelet from
Bijoux Art Deco et Avant -Garde, Norma Editions 2009.

 Belperron yellow gold and pearl bracelet for the Duchess of Windsor

 The Duchess of Windsor's blue chalcedony, diamond, and sapphire set.

Brooch, amethysts, diamonds, and emerald briolettes
the briolettes are detachable.

Madame Belperron kept up with style, she was an admirer of Balenciaga.

In 1963 Suzanne Belperron was awarded the Legion d'honneur for her efforts with the french resistance, and her lifetime of artistic excellence. She retired in 1974.

Availeble NOW here

 The definitive illustrated biography of one of the most influential and important jewelry designers of the twentieth century.  When asked why she never signed her work, Suzanne Belperron replied, “My style is my signature.” This is a superb book  a treasured edition to my library.
In 1999 the Herz-Belperon, and the Suzanne Belperron names and archives were sold to Ward Landigan  who owns Verdura. See their site (Here)
Today Landrigan’s son Nico, President of Verdura, is responsible for re-launching Belperron brand.
She was a true trailblazer her work continues to influence many designers working today.

She was an original.  
Her legacy is now in excellent hands!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Question Mark Necklace

Boucheron necklace November 2014

 This demure necklace is hesitant, almost timid and rough-edged. The line lacks balance and finesse.  It is a pale reflection of the sensational sinuous originals in Boucheron's own archives.

Diamonds set in silver laminated over gold.
The Originals were designed by Paul Legrand  in the 1880's, they were gorgeous daring and still unequaled in their stylish verve.

More information HERE

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Vivienne Becker

I was delighted to see

three spectacular new limited edition volumes 
by Vivienne Becker for Assouline.

Alexandre Reza 
For five decades  Alexandre Reza has been a gemologist 
and master jeweler on the Place Vendôme in Paris.

Sevan Bicakci Is a Turkish master jeweler with a distinctive style.

VIVIENNE BECKER is a superb writer, jewelry historian, and curator.

She is the writer I most admire working the in the field of jewelry today.
Her knowledge is profound, and her writing is absolutely wonderful. Although her background is journalism she transcended that years ago. 
Her writing is never mere reportage whether in journals or books. To own any of Vivienne’s many books is to own a treasure trove of unique and original insight and information. She is always a delight to read. 

My favourite book in this group  is The Impossible Collection of Jewelry.
I consider it an exquisitely curated selection for the ultimate jewelry box.

Vivienne places the jewels in their original context and explains why they are timeless treasures sought after by connoisseurs today.  Who better to select and write about these benchmarks of jewelry history?  Her choices are outstanding. Her words are alluring, the photography is exquisite.

This book features some of the best jewels of the last one hundred + years.

From the Wiener Werkstätte and the Tiffany Studios,  Art Deco masterpieces by Cartier, and mid century designs by Verdura for Chanel, exquisite creations Van Cleef & Arpels, and Graff, and the ultimate jeweler living today, JAR in Paris.  

All of these exquisite volumes are limited editions and are
hand-bound, featuring hand-tipped images.  They are presented in a linen clamshell cases.
For bibliophiles and jewelry connoisseurs alike these books are
very well appointed.

For more information Here

Friday, November 21, 2014

Noble Coral

The coral prized for jewelry is Corallium nobile or Carallium rubrum

Cartier brooch 1950, gold diamonds, coral carved onyx

Found in the southern Irish Sea through the Bay of Biscay to Madeira , the Canaries and Cape Verde
Islands; through the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, Mauritius, the Malay archipelago and Japanese waters.

Bianco- Pure White, Pelle d'angelo-pale flesh pink (angel's skin). Rose pallido-Pale rose, 
Rose vivo-Bright rose, Secondo coloro-Salmon colour, Rosso- Red, Russo Scuro-Dark red, 
Arciscuro or Carbonetto-Very dark red (ox blood)

Victorian coral and diamond demi-parure

Cartier , Paris bracelet 1924, gold enamel, platinum, diamonds, mother of pearl.

 Ar Deco coral brooch, platinum, diamonds, onyx

Cartier Bandeau, coral, tortoise shell, platinum, diamonds, enamel, onyx. 

 Cartier coral bangle, platinum, diamonds 1968

Cartier baroque pearl,  gold, diamond, emeralds, sapphires.
from the collection of the duchess of Windsor 1953

Emilio Terry design 1948

Detail of les Pecheurs des perles Alessandro Allori (1535-1607)
Coral the fruit of the sea is not as abundant as it used to be.
 It have become rare expensive and hard to find in good quality.

Coveted since antiquity