Certificate of Authenticity from Françoise Cailles dated April 22, 2015, stating that the bracelet is Rene Boivin, 1930, from a design by Suzanne Belperron.
Cailles, Françoise. René Boivin: Joaillier. Paris: Quartet Books, 1994, p. 172.
René Boivin founded his company in the 1890s. After his death in 1917, his wife, Jeanne Boivin—the sister of fashion designer Paul Poiret—presided over the firm. Assisted by her daughter Germaine and designers Suzanne Belperron and Juliette Moutard, Jeanne oversaw production of some of the most inspired jewelry of the twentieth century. The house is known for pieces with a strong, sculptural style as well as designs based on nature. After Jeanne’s death in 1959, Germaine Boivin and Juliette Moutard ran the company until it was sold in the 1970s. While the firm has been sold a number of times, no jewelry is currently produced under the Boivin name.
In fashion, art, and design a thoroughly modern style appeared after World War I that was geometric, bold, and drew inspiration from the modern machine age culture. The monumental Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, which was held in Paris in 1925, became center stage for important designers to exhibit their new creations and jewelry design played a prominent role. Maison René Boivin, run by Jeanne Boivin, exhibited several important designs embodying the spirit of the modern era. By the early 1930s, Boivin developed a style that set them apart with bold sculptural forms, fluid lines, and unexpected materials. Surrounding herself with great female designers who created original pieces with a feminine quality, Boivin worked closely with Juliette Moutard and the designer of this bracelet, Suzanne Belperron, who later left the firm to start her own company.
Designed by Belperron for Boivin, this bracelet challenges conventional aesthetics and, as revealed by Françoise Cailles, was inspired by the squares of a chocolate bar. The center band of tiered rock crystal plaques replicates the divided squares of chocolate and is enhanced on either side by lines of hematite pyramids. While limited materials are employed, there is a clever play of light between the angled stone cuts and the contrast between the dark and light of the clear rock crystal and black hematite. The flexible quality of this bracelet when wrapped around the wrist breaks up the rigidness of the design and creates a bold and sculptural jewel.
The Escalier Bordé or “stepped border” bracelet was a popular motif with jewelry houses in the 1930s, but the design of this bracelet is fresh and forward thinking with its unusual shapes and materials. Boivin never closely aligned with the mainstream jewelers of place Vendôme, but was drawn to the modernist designers who developed the movement of Art Moderne. The company’s pieces were a balance of big and bold sculptural forms with fluid and voluptuous curves. While it was quite unusual to have female designers during this time, Boivin was able to foster the growth of her female talent such as Suzanne Belperron, whose pieces are highly sought after today. This bracelet is a flawless collaboration between two inspired designers who created some of the most innovative designs of the twentieth century.