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A cuff bracelet designed by Suzanne, Circa 1936, Carved amethyst leaves, rubies & diamonds in 18k gold and platinum sold at $507,000 in 2019

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A ‘Yin Yang’ ring by Suzanne Belperron in hammered yellow gold set with a 4.67-carat fancy intense yellow diamond, 1923. Estimated at $84,500-105,650, it sold for $229,780 in 2013.

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Gem JEWELS & WATCHES 

A MOMENT FOR BELPERRON

Here's how jewelry mogul, Suzanne Belperron embraced technique and style

OCTOBER 2023

- team luxe List

The word ‘visionary’ has never seemed more fitting than now; Suzanne Belperron is an iconic figure of the twentieth century. This lady single-handedly orchestrated the pathway for a revolutionary aesthetics in jewelry designing and pioneered a new wave of artisanal craft. A true legend whose philosophy runs through the veins of both, emerging and seasoned designers, inspiring them to think unconventionally. Even though she might be unknown to most people now except collectors, the tale of her craftsmanship lives on.

Hailing from a French background, Suzanne lived in the town of Saint Claude, before moving to Besançon, where she spent most of her early life and graduated from Besançon École Des beaux-arts. Soon, she shifted to Paris at the age of 19 and was employed as a designer at Maison Biovin. Jeanne Boivin had placed huge faith in this little girl to revive his brand and its international reputation and Suzanne did not disappoint. 

Within 3-4 years of creative outpouring and sustained commitment, she became the co-director at the Boivin jewelry house, able to manifest a newer, evolved image for the brand. However, she resigned from this post 13 years later out of long-due frustration and angst since she never received proper recognition for her designs. But throughout her work tenure, she explored various themes, from ancient Egyptian sculpture and abstract tribal motifs to architecture and even the Michelin Man, all of which were subtly referenced in her designs and later published for being distinctive jewel pieces at Maison Boivin in Vogue Paris. 

Suzanne completely transformed the brand’s style.

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"What Chanel and Schiaparelli are in the French fashion world... Belperron is in the predominantly male fraternity of Paris jewelers."

-The Chicago Daily Tribune.

Suzanne Belperron, photographed for Vogue in 1933​

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By now, she had already risen to fame for being a singular female designer who made jewels for the bold and modern-day women, allowing them to feel the depth of their femininity while staying practical through the choice of wearable materials. 

Later on, she was appointed by Bernard Herz in 1932 to design an exclusive jewelry collection under his company name, granting her the artistic liberty to do so. 

A Boivin bracelet designed by Suzanne

The pages of Vogue 1933 published an extensive feature on Belperron’s work

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Her designs, then, came to be featured on the covers and pages of international publications like Le Figaro Illustré, Femina, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and international press such as L’Express, the Herald Tribune, and the Toronto Star, to name a few. Her jewels were also adorned by her loyal clientele like the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Elsa Schiaparelli, and Karl Lagerfeld.

Belperron publications in Magazines

“Let us rejoice: The year 1933 marks a revival in the art of jewelry.” – as published in Vogue referring to Belperron

THE ART OF

Jewelry

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In 1945, the post-war circumstances had rendered the unfortunate demise of Bernard Herz, whose son, Jean, later joined hands with Suzanne to continue her creations in full splendor. Eventually, they decided to retire and close the business in 1974 and Belperron passed away almost a decade later at the age of 82.

Today, the Belperron collection, created entirely from her archive of over 9,300 gouache paintings and designs, embodies the essence of her aesthetic. The largest selection of vintage and private collections is displayed at its first flagship salon on New York City’s Fifth Avenue, opened by Belperron LLC.

Her jewelry collection that was sold at auction, known to be the largest jewelry sale in history, consisted of 16 pieces by Belperron

The Duchess of Windsor, a loyal clientele, wearing Belperron jewels

Some of the jewel pieces created from Suzanne’s archival collection of her designs in the form of paintings:

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Nico Landrigan, President of Verdura and Belperron, is responsible for the revival of Suzanne’s work.

After forty-one years of Suzanne’s retirement, Belperron opened its salon on New York’s Fifth Avenue in 2015

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“She created new volumes with different visual rhythm and reason and her work never inflicted the wearer with an idea of wealth. There was never any danger of overstatement,” wrote Karl Lagerfeld in the forward to the book Jewelry by Suzanne Belperron. He was an admirer of Suzanne’s creative genius and became a collector of her famous brooches, and was spotted in them often. 

The “Belperron Style” as it came to be known later, was used as a reference to indicate a breakthrough from the conformist system of ornamentation. Suzanne was a woman of high taste and it was vividly reflected in her designs. 

"Suzanne was a woman of high taste"

Karl Lagerfeld, photographed wearing one of Belperron’s popular vintage brooches

Through the use of precious colored stones, Even though her pieces were extravagant in appeal, they always felt light and airy once worn – a Belporron specialty. Nothing that was designed by her appeared awkwardly static, instead, it always elevated the whole look, allowing movement.hich she chose for their beauty rather than their worth, she created jewelry that was at odds with the angular, platinum, and diamond-set jewels that dominated jewelry design at the time in conjunction with the ‘Art Deco’ movement that stood for a geometrically and mathematically precise structure of elements, leaving zero room for exploration in curvature designs. But Suzanne was an outstanding colorist and created bold, avant-garde designs that were elegantly shaped in new proportions.

She had an inherent talent for understanding complex shapes, gradations of color, styles, and visuals. The evident presence of color, bold patterns, and exuberant designs was her way to give birth to a movement that was unheard of before; truly a revolutionary aestheticism.

From the wooden ring surmounted by a sapphire to the ivory brooch embellished with coral, to the famous monumental butterfly set with emerald and diamond cabochons — all her creations are cutting-edge. In addition to her setting techniques, she was particularly fond of certain materials such as chalcedony, blonde agate, rock crystal, and gold.

 

“She envisioned the future of jewelry design,” says Nico, whose family acquired the worldwide rights to Belperron’s archive. She was futuristic in her approach and played around with colors and compositions to come up with ideas that would appeal not only to her generation of women but also, to generations centuries ahead. 

She would always refuse to sign her pieces, saying “My style is my signature.” She entrusted people to recognize a Belperron when they see one and in all honesty, why wouldn’t she. Her themes and choice of colors are exclusive to her taste; anything else that resembles her work has drawn its inspiration from it. The spirit and substance of Belperron are so evident in her creations that it makes them distinguished. 

No other designer from the twentieth century was able to carve for themselves an unparalleled identity as she did and create jewelry that was aimed at relishing the spirit of being a woman and exploring choices. Suzanne Belperron was herself, a progressive woman, making jewelry for other progressive women. 

 

Belperron’s evolved jewelry collection is now in popular demand because people are beginning to decipher its value. For instance, a Belperron silver ring set with semiprecious stones was sold for $88,400 once. This is just one of the minor ones. Her jewel collections are like Picasso’s paintings; they hardly appear for auction and when they do, few great collectors seek exclusivity and close the deal at exorbitantly high prices. Such is the allure of Belperron’s pieces.

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Pop-singer, Rihanna photographed at the Met Gala 2023, wearing Belperron earrings from the current collection and a vintage pearl Belperron necklace

"SHE ENVISIONED

  THE FUTURE OF

  JEWELRY DESIGN"

Some of the pieces from the present-day Belperron collection that we cannot help but swoon over will further entice you to invest in them. A few of them are:

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COURONNE CUFFS, Emerald & 22k virgin gold cuffs

  • $222,000 per pair

VINTAGE SAPPHIRE BIB NECKLACE, Circa 1945-55, Sapphire, Diamond & Platinum 

  • $795,500

 A vintage ‘stained glass’ ring in the current Belperron collection

VINTAGE A POIS RUBY RING, Burma Ruby, Diamond & Platinum

  • $245,000

SPIRAL ‘HELENA’ EARCLIPS, Akoya cultured pearl, 22k virgin gold & 18k gold back

  • $37,500

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AQUAMARINE ‘MELANGE’ BROOCH, Circa 1955-69

  • $60,327

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MELANGE EARCLIPS, Paraiba tourmaline, apatite & 18k gold

  • $117,000.00

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VINTAGE ROULEAU RING, Diamond and platinum

  • $67,500

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WAVE NECKLACE, Diamond, 18k gold & platinum

  • $109,500

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A Timeless Icon – Suzanne Belperron’s legacy is one that left an enduring mark in the jewelry industry.

As we move forward into an era that celebrates individuality and artisanal beauty, there is no doubt that her work will stand as a testament to perfection and tell the captivating tale of her legendary journey.

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