Equal parts modernist and surrealist, Jean Schlumberger (1907 – 1987) was one of the most forward-thinking jewelers of the 20th century. From his early work with fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli, for whom he designed whimsical buttons and costume jewelry, to his storied three-decade career at Tiffany & Co., Schlumberger created imaginative and timeless pieces for the world’s most discerning collectors.
Schlumberger was one of five designers, and the first, to sign his name to Tiffany pieces. The others were Angela Cummings, Elsa Peretti, Paloma Picasso and Frank Gehry. Given complete creative freedom, he maintained a private salon and studio on the mezzanine of the Fifth Avenue flagship allowing him easy access to the finest colored stones and diamonds. An artist above all else, Schlumberger began his designs with hand sketches in pen and ink, creating three dimensional renderings for his workshop. His best work takes elements from the natural world, and he had a particular flair for capturing the fanciful character of animals.
One of his most appealing and enduring pieces is the Bird on a Rock brooch, designed in 1965. A diamond-plumed bird - Schlumberger’s interpretation of a yellow-crested cockatoo - perches playfully atop a large faceted semi-precious stone. Bunny Mellon purchased one of the very first and she would go on to add seven more to her legendary collection. A close friend of Schlumberger’s, Mellon was one of many devoted clients including Greta Garbo, Diana Vreeland, Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn. Our version centers on a generous pink tourmaline weighing over 54 carats, and our bird is completely covered in bright white diamonds with a pink sapphire eye, clearly indicating that she is a female. This sumptuous piece was made especially for the opening of the flagship Tiffany store in Sydney, Australia and was offered only to top clients in the Southern Hemisphere. We are it’s second owner.
With his important and iconic pieces still produced by Tiffany & Co. in limited runs, Jean Schlumberger’s wonderfully imaginative work has lost none of its allure as it continues to find new, enthusiastic audiences today.
- 1 cushion-cut pink tourmaline weighing approximately 54.02 carats
- 71 round-cut diamonds weighing approximately 2.69 carats
- 1 round pink sapphire weighing approximately 0.01 carats
- 18K yellow gold
- Signed Schlumberger, Tiffany & Co.