AS ONE OF THE 20th century’s most gifted artists, Jean Schlumberger created fantastic designs that transformed nature’s wonders into objects of mesmerizing beauty. With gold and dazzling gemstones as his palette, he captured the glory of flowers, exotic birds, and mythical creatures in bejeweled statements unrivaled in the world of jewelry design.
Though cast in stones and precious metals, Schlumberger’s is a world of energy and movement. Jellyfish with sapphire tentacles and jeweled dolphins undulate with the rhythms of the sea; glittering petals and leaves are stirred by gentle breezes. “I try to make everything look as if it were growing, uneven, organic,” he once said. “I want to capture the irregularity of the universe.”
Schlumberger’s first design in precious metal and gemstones—a gold cigarette lighter in the shape of a goldfish with gemstone eyes and flexible tail—became a classic. In 1941 he created the Trophée clip for Diana Vreeland, legendary editor of Vogue. Now in the Tiffany & Co. Archives, the clip features an oval-cut amethyst and ruby shield with a warrior’s chain mail scaled with diamonds, and longbow, arrows, spear, and ruby-set sword in blue enamel.
In 1956 Walter Hoving, chairman of Tiffany & Co., asked Schlumberger to join the company. A special design studio and salon were decorated to the designer’s specifications. With an unlimited supply of the finest colored stones now at his fingertips, Schlumberger created some of the most fabulous jewelry designs of his career.
Schlumberger often traveled to Bali, India, and Thailand to fire his imagination and create his own magical mementos, such as the exotic Oiseau de Paradis clip with yellow beryl, amethysts, emeralds, and sapphires; and the Sea Bird clip that combines a bird’s beak and head with a serpent’s body in pavé diamonds, rubies, and spike-like 18k gold plumage. His work is distinguished by a strong sculptural quality, and this strength of design unifies the varied elements in his most intricate pieces. As in nature, every flower, leaf, bird, and fish is unique—a true Schlumberger original shaped into a well-integrated work of art.
In later years, Jean Schlumberger returned to Paris, the city that awakened his artistic soul. He died in 1987, at the age of 80, leaving a legacy of bejeweled flowers, ocean life, and birds of wonder.
Tiffany & Co.’s high jewelry collection, The Legendary Designs of Jean Schlumberger, is infused with an imaginative spirit and curiosity, celebrating Schlumberger’s distinctive use of colored gemstones and radiant Tiffany diamonds—among the most expressive and innovative in the world of high jewelry design. The Tiffany & Co. Schlumberger® Bird on a Rock clip in platinum and 18k yellow gold with an oval aquamarine and round brilliant diamonds seen above is a part of this collection. The gemstones are customizable— style icon Bunny Mellon’s 1965 version was created with Lapis lazuli, ruby, and diamonds.
Tiffany & Co. Schlumberger® Bird on a Rock clip in platinum and 18k yellow gold with an oval aquamarine and round brilliant diamonds is available at Tiffany & Co., Northbrook Court, 847-272-5785.