SAPPHIRE AND EMERALD CUFF BY SUZANNE BELPERRON, PARIS, 1948
A cuff bracelet set with a scattered pattern of mixed-cut emeralds and cabochon sapphires; mounted in 18-karat yellow gold; with French assay marks
- 37 cabochon sapphires
- 40 mixed-cut emeralds
- With maker’s mark
- Measurements: 2 3/4 × 2 3/8 × 1 1/2 inches
- Olivier Baroin Certificate of Authenticity No. 161221a Belp/PG/LS, dated December 21, 2016, stating the bracelet was manufactured by Groené & Darde workshop in July 1948 for Suzanne Belperron.
- Raulet, Sylvie, and Olivier Baroin, Suzanne Belperron. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Antique Collectors’ Club, 2011, p. 152.
Along with Chanel and Schiaparelli, Suzanne Belperron was one of the innovators of modern dress and jewelry. Belperron began her career in 1919 designing for René Boivin. Her 1933 partnership with Bernard Herz (and later his son Jean) allowed her to develop her bold, imaginative style mixing hardstones, such as chalcedony and rock crystal, with precious stones, such as diamonds and sapphires. The elegant beauty became a favorite jeweler to the fashionable elite including Diana Vreeland, Colette, Elsa Schiaparelli, and Wallis, Duchess of Windsor. Belperron retired in 1974 and continued consulting on jewelry designs until her death in 1983.
Paul Poiret established his couture fashion house in Paris in 1903 with groundbreaking designs incorporating exotic influences with loose fitting designs breaking with the constricting tailoring of earlier eras. After the premier of the Ballets Russes production of Schéhérazade in 1910, Poiret’s designs became even more flamboyant and sensational including harem pants and lampshade tunics. At the same time, Cartier began producing jewels incorporating foreign influences lifted from Persian miniatures and the Ballets Russes, often including magnificent brightly colored sapphires and emeralds purchased in India, popularizing the blue-green color scheme.
In the midst of this explosion of color and exotic design influences, Suzanne Belperron began her jewelry career at Boivin, under Jeanne Boivin, the sister of Paul Poiret. An immensely talented jewelry designer, she developed her own distinctive look incorporating unusual materials and cuts in a bold curvaceous manner that transcended the era. In this bracelet, Belperron modernized the blue-green color scheme evoking India. The unusual stones are seemingly scattered at random, but in a subtle design touch, the edges of the bracelet mimic the edges of the stone, underscoring their intentional placement. The mix of softly rounded cabochons and faceted stones, all set with open backs, catches and throws light in unusual ways when worn. The warm gold balances the cool tones of the stones. This bracelet is in the style of her scattered stone vanity cases, one of which was created for the Duchess of Windsor.
Belperron’s career lasted over fifty years and spanned the modernist movement, the rise of feminism, and extreme changes in fashion. Through it all, Belperron designed stylish jewels from simple, yet unusual, elements. Highly sought after, her designs remain as bold and timeless today as when first created. Belperron stated, “My style is my signature.” This magnificent bracelet is a testament to the skill of a masterful designer and the eye of a style icon.
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