Jean Michel Schlumberger: One Of Tiffany & Co.’s Most Successful Independent Designers
Jean Schlumberger was one of the most gifted French jewelry designers from the 20th century who was well known for his work at Tiffany & Co. The designer later decided to create jewelry exclusively under his name and rose to become one of the most acclaimed jewelry designers of his time.
To date, the brand specializes in transforming nature’s wonders into objects of mesmerizing beauty. The amazing jewels feature sea creatures, enamel bracelets in cooperation with Tiffany & Co. egg charms, Star & Moon necklaces and many other creations.
Schlumberger was born in the town of Mulhouse, France which was under German occupation at the time (1907). He was part of a family business involved in textile manufacturing, but was constantly sketching imaginative designs. Though his parents tried to discourage him, Jean Michel knew that the best way to display his creativity was through jewelry design.
Jean Michel Schlumberger began his career creating buttons for Elsa Schiaparelli, after which he joined the army and survived the Battle of Dunkirk. He also served under General Charles de Gaulle in England and the Free French Forces in the Middle East.
After he returned from the war, Schlumberger went to New York and began designing clothing for Chez Ninon. In 1946, he finally pursued his dream and opened a jewelry salon with his partner Nicolas Bongard.
In 1956, Jean Michel was approached by the president of Tiffany & Co. Walter Hoving. He asked Schlumberger to begin designing for Tiffany and he accepted. Schlumberger continued to design under his name and had his own workshop at the company until his retirement in 1970.
Remarkable Designs Inspired By Natural Forms
Schlumberger’s success was best seen through the impressive client base that he built. This included many famous people such as the Duchess of Windsor, Greta Garbo, Babe Paley, Rachel Lambert Mellon, Gloria Guinness, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn and more.
One of his best designs, the famous ‘Two Fruit’ clip in ruby was purchased by John F. Kennedy for his wife Jacqueline Kennedy and can be seen in the permanent collection in the Presidential Library and Museum. Jacqueline Kennedy wore so many of Schlumberger’s bracelets that on many occasions, the press referred to them as ‘Jackie bracelets’.
Prestigious pieces crafted with quality, innovation and imagination Schlumberger jewelry will continue to fascinate for generations to come.