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

December 15, 2018 through 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.

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.

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. Schlumberger 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.

“…Jaw-Dropping… – Garden & Gun
“His work was avant-garde and surrealist, and appealed to the most independent and stylish women of the time including the likes of Gloria Vanderbilt, Jacqueline Kennedy, Audrey Hepburn and Diana Vreeland.” –
“The jewels stand on their own, but it’s how the exhibitions are laid out that’s so brilliant.” – Tampa Bay Times
“…spectacular scene and most times when people see what we’ve done with this space, there is an audible wow.” – WUSF Public Radio

Presented by

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