Jean Schlumberger (jewelry designer)
Schlumberger was born in then-German Mulhouse, France to a well-to-do family involved in textile manufacturing. He sketched constantly during his youth, but his parents tried to discourage his artistic interest by refusing to allow him to undertake formal training. Schlumberger began his career creating buttons for Elsa Schiaparelli in the 1930s. Schiaparelli later commissioned him to design costume jewelry for her firm.
After the war, Schlumberger came to New York and began to design clothing for Chez Ninon. In 1946, he opened a jewelry salon with his business partner Nicolas Bongard (1908–2000).
Career at Tiffany & Co.
In 1956, the president of Tiffany & Co., Walter Hoving, asked Schlumberger to begin designing for the firm. He had his own workshop at the company until his retirement in the late 1970s and was eventually made a Vice-President.
Schlumberger's designs at Tiffany & Co. were remarkable for their whimsical interpretations of natural forms. He was especially inspired by sea creatures and other animals. Diana Vreeland wrote that Schlumberger "appreciates the miracle of jewels. For him, they are the ways and means to the realization of his dreams."
He quickly built an impressive client base that included the Duchess of Windsor, Babe Paley, Greta Garbo, Mona von Bismarck, Rachel Lambert Mellon, Jayne Wrightsman, C.Z. Guest, Gloria Guinness, Françoise de la Renta, Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, Lyn Revson, Gloria Vanderbilt, Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn.
For his wife, Jacqueline Kennedy, John F. Kennedy purchased the famous Two Fruit clip in rubies and diamonds, which is in the permanent collection of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Jacqueline Kennedy wore so many of Schlumberger's bracelets that the press dubbed them "Jackie bracelets".
Schlumberger died in Paris and is buried at Isola di San Michele.
Tiffany Yellow Diamond
One of the most famous pieces that Schlumberger created was the mounting for the famed Tiffany Diamond, which was in the firm's collection since the nineteenth century. The brooch, entitled "Bird on a Rock", incorporates the impressive 128.54 carats (25.71 g) yellow diamond in a fanciful setting typical of Schlumberger's style.
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- Obituaries - Nicolas Bongard, 91, Executive at Tiffany, New York Times, April 19, 2000
- Trebay, Guy (May 8, 2001). "Tiffany's Prince of Whimsy Takes a Posthumous Bow". The New York Times.
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- About Tiffany & Co. - Jean Schlumberger
- Jean Schlumberger (jewelry designer) at the Fashion Model Directory
- Voguepedia - Designers - Jean Schlumberger
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- Vreeland, Diana, Jean Schlumberger, Franco Maria Ricci, 1976.