SAPPHIRE, EMERALD, AND RUBY “HINDU” NECKLACE BY SUZANNE BELPERRON, PARIS, CIRCA 1948
A necklace composed at the front of a graduated line of emerald-cut sapphires alternating with cabochon emeralds and set with pear-shaped rubies at the corners of each stone, the back of the necklace completed with graduated pear-shaped emeralds and pear-shaped rubies, and a baguette-cut emerald on the clasp; mounted in yellow gold
- 9 Emerald-cut sapphires
- 6 cabochon-cut emeralds
- 40 pear-shaped rubies
- 14 pear-shaped emeralds
- 1 baguette-cut emerald
- With maker’s mark
- Length: 15 inches
- Olivier Baroin Certificate of Authenticity No. 161221d Belp/PG/LS, dated December 21, 2016, stating the “Hindu” necklace was manufactured by Groené & Darde workshop circa 1948 for Suzanne Belperron.
- Raulet, Sylvie, and Olivier Baroin, Suzanne Belperron. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Antique Collectors’ Club, 2011, p. 224.
Along with Chanel and Schiaparelli, Suzanne Belperron was one of the innovators of modern dress and jewelry. Belperron began her career in 1919 designing for René Boivin. Her 1933 partnership with Bernard Herz (and later his son Jean) allowed her to develop her bold, imaginative style mixing hardstones, such as chalcedony and rock crystal, with precious stones, such as diamonds and sapphires. The elegant beauty became a favorite jeweler to the fashionable elite including Diana Vreeland, Colette, Elsa Schiaparelli, and Wallis, Duchess of Windsor. Belperron retired in 1974 and continued consulting on jewelry designs until her death in 1983.
India’s influence on European jewelry grew out of the country’s position as the center of the global gem trade during the Mughal period. Until the 18th century, India was the world’s only source of diamonds, and the central hub for Columbian emeralds, Burmese rubies, and Sri Lankan sapphires. Traveling to India was a treacherous journey undertaken only by explorers and merchants, until after World War I, when advances in technology improved to accommodate affluent travelers from the West. In the early 20th century, Maharajahs brought their extraordinary gems to Parisian jewelers for mounting in modern designs. This interaction inspired many jewelers to incorporate the exotic motifs, vibrant color combinations, and ancient gem-cutting techniques of India in their designs. Jewelry houses such as Cartier, Boucheron and Suzanne Belperron created outstanding jewels in the Indian style that are highly coveted today.
Composed of a graduated series of sapphires and emeralds complemented with rubies, this Belperron necklace explores the aesthetic influences of India while modernizing the traditional approach. The color combination of blue and green was popularized in the 1920s by Cartier in their pieces incorporating Indian stones, but Belperron asserted her own style by juxtaposing the shapes and cuts of the stones in unexpected ways. The faceted sapphires and cabochon emeralds, stunning in color and texture, are enclosed by the leaf-like collet-set rubies, evoking the Indian boteh (paisley) form, based on the cypress tree, adding a hint of nature and alluding to the Tree of Life. Belperron’s design combines bold color and simplicity of shapes without over embellishment. The essence of India is felt in this necklace combined with Art Deco-era geometry and Belperron’s signature use of bold curvaceous forms.
Belperron, one of the most important jewelry designers of all time, created jewels for the most fashionable women from the Duchess of Windsor to Grace Kelly and Elsa Schiaparelli. She had her choice of commissions, and, once accepted, she worked closely with the workshops to make sure her vision for each client was perfectly realized. Her unusual style is still sought after by the most fashionable and knowledgeable collectors. This magnificent Hindu necklace would be a rare and beautiful addition to any collection.