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  • Catalogue Essay

    Suzanne Belperron may not be a household name in the auction world just yet, but seasoned jewellery collectors would jump on any opportunity to acquire a piece of her original works.
    Recognized as one of the few important 20th century female jewellery designers, Madame Belperron began working as a designer for Maison René Boivin Paris in 1919 and was co-directress in 1932 when she left to design exclusively for B. Herz. As a true pioneer of her time, she dismissed the ubiquity of Art Deco designs and introduced new forms and volumes to the world of jewellery. Materials such as chalcedony and hardstones were carved to fit daring designs, defying aesthetic beliefs of that era. It is the sparing extravagance that made her works immediately recognizable, yet Madame Belperron never signed her piece, claiming that ‘my style is my signature’. This fact, however, did not stop people from amassing her works which were ground-breaking at the time they were made and are still hauntingly modern till this very day.
    Madame Belperron built a loyal following from royal family members to fashion designers, bankers to writers. Karl Lagerfeld described her work as having ‘a humble splendour’ and declared that he loved ‘the magic equilibrium in everything she designed.’ This brooch is one of her most iconic floral design with succulent leaves decorated by ‘berries’ which she revisited at various stages of her career.

  • Artist Biography

    Suzanne Belperron

    French • 1900 - 1983

    Suzanne Belperron is acknowledged today as one of the most original and influential jewelry designers of the 20th century, a woman designing for women, in a style way ahead of its time, that remains as strikingly modern today as it was almost a century ago.  Yet her name had sunk into oblivion until the 1980s, when, aided by the 1987 sale of the Duchess of Windsor’s jewels, her talent and the timeless modernity of her designs began to be recognized and her story explored.  Born Suzanne Vuillerme, in 1900 in Saint-Claude, in the Jura region of France, she studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Besançon, where her signature themes and influences, such as the fish-scale pattern, were already visible in her prize-winning work. She made her way to Paris in 1919 and was taken on by Jeanne Boivin, who had assumed control of the celebrated jewelry house after the death of her husband, René Boivin in 1917.

     

    Accounts vary as to whether Suzanne started out as a salesgirl, or as a designer-modelmaker, but certainly before long her designs, always under the Boivin name, were hailed as the height of contemporary elegance by a coterie of artistic intelligentsia. In 1924, the year Suzanne married Jean Belperron, an engineer from Besançon, she was made co-director of the Maison Boivin. Her ideas, her daring originality, her values, and her own innate style meshed perfectly with those of Jeanne Boivin.  Her versatility enabled her to move effortlessly from prevailing modernism – the stepped, layered Escalier designs  – to inspirations from ancient civilizations and exotic cultures, Egypt, Asia, and Africa – all the while injecting her feminine sensibility, combining geometry and stylization with fluidity and sensuality. 

     

    In 1932, she left Boivin to work with the gemstone and pearl merchant, Bernard Herz, and here she was given credit as the creator of some of the most sophisticated and sought-after jewels of the day, fashionable yet beyond fashion, the badges of style worn by an illustrious clientèle, including Elsa Schiaparelli, Daisy Fellowes, Diana Vreeland and the Duchess of Windsor. Her celebrated jewels of carved smokey or rose quartz, amethyst, or chalcedony were crafted by the lapidary, Louart, while her jewels were fabricated by Groené et Dard.  She steadfastly refused to sign her jewels, famously saying, “My style is my signature.”

    View More Works

551

A Rare Cultured Pearl and Diamond 'Flower and Berries' Brooch, Suzanne Belperron, Circa Mid-20th Century

Unsigned

Estimate
HK$280,000 - 380,000 
$36,000-48,000

Contact Specialist
Terry Chu
Head of Jewellery, Asia, Senior Director
+852 2318 2038

Jewels & Jadeite

Hong Kong Auction 27 May 2019