The Rachel Lambert Mellon Collection of Jean Schlumberger

Feb 10 2017 - Jun 18 2017

This exhibition of 145 works from one of the most stunning public collections of jewelry and objects by Jean Schlumberger celebrates the creativity of this legendary 20th-century designer and the inspiration he found in the natural world.

Schlumberger began his career in Paris and by the 1930s, he was creating costume jewelry for fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli. His works evolved into exquisite pins, bracelets, necklaces, and more that featured real gemstones—rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and diamonds—in settings of gold and platinum. In 1956, he became chief designer for Tiffany & Co., where his ornaments became known for their whimsical interpretations of nature, particularly marine life.

Schlumberger also designed powder compacts, candlesticks, centerpieces, and clocks, which combined precious and semiprecious stones with enamel and gold in the manner of the Russian master Carl Fabergé. Over the years, Schlumberger’s elegant designs attracted celebrity clients such as Greta Garbo, Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn, as well as Jacqueline Kennedy and her close friend Rachel Lambert Mellon, a great patron of the designer and VMFA.

The Rachel Lambert Mellon Collection of Jean Schlumberger, features pieces inspired by Mrs. Mellon’s passions and crafted to her specifications. Inventive displays suggest the places where these objects would have been seen and appreciated.

Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.

  • Decorative Arts
  • European
  • 20th Century
  • Design
  • Jean Schlumberger

Exhibition Venues & Dates