Designed/Unsigned: Suzanne Belperron
While the majority of artists in any field guarantee proper attribution by signing their work, one magnificent jewelry designer in the 20th century famously declared, “My style is my signature.” Suzanne Belperron, regarded as the first woman master jeweler in modern history, used a magical combination of materials, motifs, and innovative techniques over a long career to cement her place in history and stamp her name – through her style – on hundreds of fabulous jewels.
One of the most recognizable Belperron motifs is her spire (spiral), a visual meditation on the turning, twisting, expanding designs reflected in nature’s seashells and flora, as well as the architectural wrought iron Belperron remembered from her village upbringing in rural France. Some of her earliest work for renowned French jewelry house, Boivin, featured this design element, which was ideally suited to center bold designs like massive bracelets and, famously, a pair of diamond-paved spiral dress clips.
After leaving Boivin to partner with Parisian pearl dealer B. Herz, Belperron began to publicly take credit for her design work. Her spirals appear throughout the following decades, along with her preference for tone-on-tone color pairings, crisp knife-edge settings, and rich 22kt gold.
A revival of styles from her vast archive of unrealized sketches was begun in the late 1990s in partnership with New York-based jewelry house Verdura. The new pieces are made to Belperron’s original specifications, but with one big difference – they are signed.
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