As one of the 20th century’s most gifted artists, Jean Schlumberger is renowned for his fantastical creations infused with wit and curiosity. With extraordinary gemstones as his palette, he transformed nature’s wonders into objects of mesmerizing beauty, and strong, sculptural designs into magnificent bejeweled statements—unrivaled in the world of jewelry design.
“I want to capture the irregularity of the universe.”
Born into a prominent family of textile manufacturers in Alsace, France, Jean Schlumberger (1907–1987) eventually landed in New York City. In 1956 he was hired by Tiffany & Co. Chairman Walter Hoving as a Vice President of the company. A special design studio and salon were decorated to the designer’s specifications, and with an unlimited supply of the finest colored stones now at his fingertips, Schlumberger created some of the most incredible jewelry designs of his career.
As a superb draftsman, Schlumberger began each design with a drawing to discover the purity and grace of the natural forms that caught his eye. He also often traveled to Bali, India and Thailand to fire his imagination, which influenced the energetic and dynamic quality of his work.
As a passionate innovator, Schlumberger has received numerous honors and awards in the world of art and fashion. He was the first jewelry designer to win the coveted Coty American Fashion Critics’ Award in 1958; and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris—which houses Schlumberger’s original designs—honored him with a retrospective entitled “Un Diamant dans la Ville” in 1995. This posthumous tribute marked only the third time a jewelry designer had been honored by the museum.
In his later years, Jean Schlumberger returned to Paris, the city that awakened his artistic soul. He died in 1987, at the age of 80, leaving a legacy of bejeweled creations of wonder and magnificence.
The Tiffany Diamond
When Schlumberger began his tenure at Tiffany & Co., one of his first moves was to mount the famous Tiffany Diamond in a high jewelry design. Tiffany entrusted the young designer with setting the 128.54-carat fancy yellow diamond in his now iconic Ribbon Rosette necklace—a bold move that solidified Schlumberger’s artistic role at Tiffany. Later, in 1995, for the Musée des Arts Décoratifs’ Jean Schlumberger retrospective in Paris, the Tiffany Diamond was reset in one of his most beloved creations—the Bird on a Rock brooch. The Tiffany Diamond remains one of the most important gemstones in the world—one that honors Charles Lewis Tiffany’s vision and Jean Schlumberger’s design legacy.
A New Dawn
Jean Schlumberger’s legacy continues with one of today’s greatest creative forces.