Arts & Culture, Photography, Projects Jean Schlumberger’s finest
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts hosted the largest exhibit of artist Jean Schlumberger’s fine jewelry. The French artist had designed for celebrities Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, and Jacqueline Kennedy. The collection was donated by the late Rachel Lambert Mellon.
Schlumberger wowed the visitors with earrings and bracelets dotted with precious stones set in gold, and Sigrid Johnston (left) and Natalie Bisger (right) removed her glasses to better see the detail. “I think he goes into making art with gems and flowers and plant life, so I’m looking forward to seeing that as well,” Bisger said after looking at bracelets, earrings, and broaches.
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is home to the largest public collection of couture jewelry by Jean Schlumberger; 140 works donated by Rachel Lambert Mellon, who passed away in 2014. Mellon was a distinguished philanthropist, horticulturalist, and a friend to Jacqueline Kennedy, who along with Mellon, was a client of Schlumberger.
Schlumberger found inspiration in nature and his pieces reflect that bohemian feel. The large stones in the bracelets and earrings pictured here resemble pebbles, which they were delicately balanced on by Kristie Couser, Curatorial Assistant for the Mellon Collections; and Dr. Mitchell Merling, Paul Mellon Curator and Head of the European Art Department.
“I believe his work far exceeds Faberge,” Richmond native Natalie Bisger (left) said. She and her friend, Sigrid Johnston (right) who is originally from Germany, saw an article in the Richmond-Times Dispatch the morning of Feb. 13 and decided to visit the exhibit. This part of the exhibition showcased the original stone in which emerald, amethyst, turquoise, and others can be found.
The necklace pictured is titled “Jasmine (Breath of Spring)” is made of colored sapphires, diamonds, 18-carat gold, and platinum. The entire piece weighs 211 carats, and is a one-of-a-kind design by Schlumberger. The nickname “Breath of Spring” stemmed from Mellon’s love of the honeysuckle bush and the delicate nature of the piece.