One of the most extensive collections of jewels created by Jean Schlumberger will be on display at the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Titled “Jewels of the Imagination,” the exhibition will feature more than 135 pieces of jewelry and art objects by the famed designer, best known for his work with Tiffany & Co. The show will open December 15 and run till March 15, 2009. All of the pieces are from the collection of Rachel Lambert Mellon (August 9, 1910 – March 17, 2014), best known as “Bunny” Mellon, a socialite, philanthropist and horticulturist. The exhibition premiered last year at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond.
Jean Schlumberger, Diana Vreeland’s “Trophée de Vaillance” Clip, 1941, with diamonds, enamel, amethyst, ruby, platinum and 14k goldTiffany & Co. Archives
The exhibition will be held in conjunction with an exclusive exhibit at the St. Petersburg MFA, “Drawn to Beauty,” which features jewels, sketches, photographs, objets d’art and personal items belonging to Schlumberger. Many of the items were borrowed from the Tiffany & Co. archives and private collections and have never been on display for the public, according to the museum, adding that the combination of the two exhibitions make it the “largest and most extensive public collection of work” by Schlumberger at exhibition.
Jean Schlumberger at workMFA St. Petersburg
Rush Jenkins of WRJ Interior Design created the exhibition space. He is known for his exhibitions of legendary personal collections and has designed more than 40 exhibitions for Sotheby’s New York.
Mellon’s collection of Schlumberger’s work ranges from necklaces and bracelets to cigarette cases and salt cellars. Her love of gardening inspired many of the artist’s botanical pieces, and the two were frequent collaborators.
Jean Schlumberger, for Tiffany & Co., Jellyfish, 1967, 18k gold, platinum, moonstones, diamonds and sapphires. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Collection of Mrs. Paul MellonTravis Fullerton, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Schlumberger started his career designing for fashion designer, Elsa Schiaparelli, before working at Tiffany & Co. beginning in the mid-1950s. He had his own workshop at the company until his retirement in the late 1970s and was eventually named as a vice president.
His work was avant-garde and surrealist, and appealed to the most independent and stylish women of the time including the likes of Gloria Vanderbilt, Jacqueline Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn and Diana Vreeland. He is best known for his whimsical interpretations of natural forms, particularly of sea creatures and other animals.
Jean Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co,”Fleur de Mer” Brooch, ca. 1955-1963, gold, platinum, diamonds, and yellow diamondsTiffany & Co. Archives
One of the most famous pieces was his “Bird on a Rock” mounting for the famed Tiffany Diamond. The brooch incorporates fanciful, colorful bejeweled bird perched on the 128.54-carat yellow diamond.