Jewels of the ImaginationRadiant Masterworks by Jean Schlumberger from the Mellon Collection

December 15, 2018 – March 31, 2019

Jean Schlumberger (French, 1907–1987)
Tiffany & Co., manufacturer (American, founded 1853)
Jellyfish, 1967, 18 karat gold, platinum, moonstones, diamonds, and sapphires
Platinum Petals, ca. 1952, 18 karat gold, white and yellow diamonds, and platinum
Blue Shell, 1957, 18 karat gold, platinum, diamonds, and sapphires
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Collection of Mrs. Paul Mellon © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Photo: Travis Fullerton

The glittering jewelry designs of Jean Schlumberger were the epitome of mid-century elegance. Inspired by nature, his creations graced such notable style icons as Jacqueline Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn. This exhibition highlights the work of this innovative artist, placing his jewelry and objets d’art as inimitable examples of twentieth-century design.

Beginning his career as a designer of costume jewelry for couturier Elsa Schiaparelli in the 1930s, Schlumberger was, by 1956, Vice President of Tiffany & Co. with his own design salon at their Fifth Avenue headquarters. He drew inspiration from such exotic locales as Bali, India, and Thailand, and this is reflected by his lively, experimental designs that play with color, movement, and shape.

This exhibition brings together the extensive Schlumberger collection of Rachel Lambert “Bunny” Mellon, donated to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts between 1985 and 2015. It is the largest, most comprehensive public collection of Jean Schlumberger’s work in the world.


Presented by

Leadership support by Mark and Marianne Mahaffey, Jeff and Penny Vinik, The Bill Edwards Group, and The Margaret Acheson Stuart Society