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Harnessing the force of nature

Updated: 2019-07-18 08:04:00

( China Daily )

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Jean Schlumberger took inspiration from nature to design classic jewelry, including a bird brooch, a necklace featuring jasmine-flower patterns and a jellyfish brooch. His work is currently on show in Beijing.[Photo provided to China Daily]

A new exhibition examines the work of Tiffany designer Jean Schlumberger and the way he was inspired by the natural world to create objects of splendor, Lin Qi reports.

He was a World War II veteran who survived the Dunkirk evacuation, in 1940. After the war, he rose to fame in the fashion world, creating jewelry designs that graced the neck, hands and chest of women aristocrats, socialites and celebrated actresses, including the Duchess of Windsor, Jacqueline Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn.

Jean Schlumberger (1907-87) incorporated his keen interest in wildlife with his gift and diligence for design to create a world of mesmerizing beauty, prompting him to turn from a young, self-taught designer, first in Paris and then New York, to become a legendary accessory designer.

His more than 20 years spent working for luxury jewelry retailer Tiffany & Co witnessed the birth of many of Schlumberger's uniquely chic designs which helped to define 20th-century style.

He was only one of four designers permitted by the New York-headquartered company to sign their work. The other three were Paloma Picasso, the jeweler and youngest daughter of Pablo Picasso, Elsa Peretti, the model-turned-designer, and Frank Gehry, the renowned architect who once partnered with Tiffany to launch a jewelry collection.

Thanks to a five-year collaboration between the National Museum of China and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond in the United States, a selection of Schlumberger's works from the VMFA's collection are being introduced to Chinese audiences.

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