A glittering tribute

Jewelry lovers will certainly be dazzled by a new large-format illustrated biography devoted to Suzanne Belperron (1900-1983).

Sure, the French designer might not have widespread name recognition, but those who follow and collect jewelry are more than familiar with both the name and the work of the woman many in the field consider one of the 20th century’s most influential designers.

After all, who wouldn’t love the confidence of someone who never signed her work and when asked why not, famously replied, “My style is my signature.”

And that style is on exuberant display in “Jewelry by Suzanne Belperron: ‘My Style is My Signature’” (Thames & Hudson, $85).

The book takes the reader from Belperron’s earliest designs, as a student in eastern France, to her groundbreaking work for the Maison Boivin and Maison B. Herz in the 1920s and ’30s through her creative peak in the post-World War II era. Included are original designs created and/or collected by stylemakers ranging from Jean Cocteau to Doris Duke, Lauren Bacall to Elsa Schiaparelli and from the Duchess of Windsor to Karl Lagerfeld, who wrote the foreword to the book.

Guaranteed to spark many a daydream are the more than 300 photographs by David Behl of Belperron jewelry from private collections, which together clearly illustrate a stunning portfolio of work.

With text based on private letters, photographs and personal documents from friends, clients and colleagues, the story is well-rounded and quite personal.

Kudos to authors Patricia Corbett, art historian and curator; Ward Landrigan, who was previously the head of the jewelry division at Sotheby’s and acquired Verdura, another landmark jewelry company, in 1985; and his son, Nico Landrigan, who not only joined the family business and became president of Verdura in 2009 but is also responsible for the re-launching of Belperron. (It was Ward Landrigan who had the chance to purchase Belperron’s name and archive of designs in the late 1990s, a move that eventually led to the launching of the Belperron flagship on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan this past autumn, the first boutique in more than 40 years to be devoted to her work).

It really sounds like a clear path, then: Savor this new book – admiring page after page of smoky quartz-and-crystal cuffs, diamond earrings, rings glistening with rubies or sapphires and tour-de-force necklaces featuring carved amethysts, black lacquer or blue chalcedony — and then head down to the Belperron salon to continue the tour.

For more, visit thamesandhudsonUSA.com or belperron.com. — Mary Shustack

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