Thursday, December 19, 2013

Mastery of Design: The Pinecone Brooch, 1960

Jean Schumberger, 1960
Tiffany & Co.
The Victoria & Albert Museum
This attractive brooch is of a more modern origin than the pieces which we usually examine onStalking the Belle Époque, but it has its roots in the designs of the late Victorian era. Jean Schlumberger of New York’s Tiffany & Co. designed this glittering gem in the form of a pair of pinecones--one is set with emeralds, and the other with sapphires. The pinecones are surmounted with diamond-set leaves.

During his career, 
Jean Schlumberger (1907-87) worked with Schiaparelli in Paris before joining Tiffany & Co. Schlumberger came by his love of gems naturally. He came from a family of textile manufacturers in Mulhouse (in eastern France). During this time, he grew to love studying combinations of colors and textures. Initially his mother and father urged young Jean toward a career in banking, however, in the 1930s, he began working for as a designer of costume jewelry for the couturier Elsa Schiaparelli in Paris. The Second World War led him to the French army and soon he made his way from England (to where he’d been evacuated) to New York.

Once in the United States, in 1947, he set up a small jewelry business with his childhood friend Nicolas Bongard. Their work quickly garnered much attention and soon Tiffany & Co. invited them to open a design studio and salon within the Tiffany New York store in 1956. To this day, many of Schlumberger’s designs are still produced by Tiffany & Co. and remain among their biggest sellers. 

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