As These Glorious Baubles From the Tiffany Archives Prove, Beauty Never Goes Out of Style

·1-min read
Photo credit: Left: Don Penny. Portrait: Horst P. Horst
Photo credit: Left: Don Penny. Portrait: Horst P. Horst

Above left: Tiffany & Co.’s Daisy necklace in platinum and 18-karat yellow gold with multi­colored gemstones and diamonds.

Should viral fame prove elusive, it pays to remember that taking things slowly holds the promise of sustained influence.

Consider the work of Jean Schlumberger, whose two-decade run, beginning in 1956, as a designer for Tiffany & Co. remains a touchstone of true style.


His measured process was distinctly personal and conscientiously analog, always beginning with hand drawings in pen and India ink. He created thorough studies with a three-dimensional aspect that belied his status as a self-taught artist and allowed a coterie of artisans to realize his creative visions.

Photo credit: Tiffany & Co. Archives 2021
Photo credit: Tiffany & Co. Archives 2021

His sketches on tracing paper were the start of baubles that hold a permanent place in the modern imagination, like the paillonné enamel bangles that became signature jewels for Jacqueline Kennedy, or the Bird on a Rock, a winsome brooch design that made jumbo colored gems, including the 128.54-carat yellow Tiffany diamond, a perch for fanciful fowl. (In a recent appearance, the brooch was reconstructed as a pair of custom cuff links for Jay-Z.)

Photo credit: TIffany & Co. Studio
Photo credit: TIffany & Co. Studio



Both examples exhibit Schlumberger’s keen eye for exceptional stones and sumptuous detail, a design legacy that lives on in floral necklaces, each petal unique and set with sapphires; in fringed collars that follow every curve of the clavicle; and on cuffs that give gold the appearance of silk.

Photo credit: Don Penny
Photo credit: Don Penny



The O.G. eye candy, these are the kinds of heirloom pieces that are sure to be treasured for generations to come—and to garner “likes” however they’re worn, by whoever appreciates the process as much as the posting.

Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

This story originally appeared in the November 2021 issue of ELLE DECOR. SUBSCRIBE


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