Bejeweling Book

The seductive world of Jean Schlumberger

Described as a man who "came to jewelry with no special preparation other than a love of design and a fertile imagination," Jean Schlumberger (1907-87) was one of the most gifted and evocative designers of the 20th century. The Alsatian artist, who began his career in the 1930s, often found inspiration in simple things, like the Meissen porcelain flower he discovered one day while perusing the Paris flea market, which served as the basis for one of his earliest brooches.

His tremendous contributions to the world of jewelry were driven by a freeness of spirit and independence of mind and are captured brilliantly in the Jewels of Jean Schlumberger (Abrams). Some 150 illustrations bring to life the work of a man who, in the words of coauthor Chantal Bizot, honorary curator at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, in Paris, "loved simplicity and . . . chose to express himself through luxury, in order to resurrect imagination and dreams."

Extraordinary examples include Schlumberger's nature-inspired bracelet (left) depicting six jewel-encrusted butterflies that can be joined to a similar piece and worn as a necklace. Also presented are designs that uniquely capture the artist's love of the sea and pieces that reflect the intimate relationships he had with many of high society's most privileged members. This insightful book shares the seductive world of Jean Schlumberger.