In 1917, René Boivin, the founder of the René Boivin jewelry house, quite famous at that time, died in Paris. However, his wife Jeanne Boivin, the elder sister of the eminent couturier Paul Poiret, became a widow, did not close the company and sell property. She hid the fact of her husband's death and continued his work under his own name. René Boivin jewelry in different years was created exclusively by women: Suzanne Belperron, Juliette Moutard, Jeanne's daughter Germain Boivin. Their incredible talent, imagination and dedication to the art of jewelry allowed the house to live a long life until the early 1990s. History knows many cases when women stood in the shadow of big brands, only a few of them could work under their own names.
Jeanne Toussaint (1887-1976)
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The name of this woman is inextricably linked with Cartier. It is to her that the famous house owes its main symbol in the form of a spotted predator. Love and muse of Louis Cartier, a strong, independent, artistic person, Toussaint herself bore the nickname Panther. She received her first panther, on a cigarette case made of onyx, from her lover in 1917, and two years later she herself ordered a Cantonese lacquer case with a picture of a wild cat from Cartier. In the early 1920s, Toussaint joined the family business, first heading the leather goods department, and then the new S (Silver) division for affordable collections. Less than ten years later, she became the creative director of the Cartier atelier on Rue de la Paix - a rare case of a rapid female career for that time. The most emblematic jewels have been created under her artistic leadership:the Flamingo brooch (1940) and the sculptural panther on a sapphire brooch (1949), both commissioned by the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, the amethyst and turquoise necklace for Daisy Fellows (1953), the Serpent necklace for Maria Felix (1968).
1 of 4 Handcuff bracelet, Cartier, 1939 © press service Hindu necklace, Cartier, 1936 © press service Panthère brooch, commissioned by Cartier, commissioned by the Duchess of Windsor, 1948 © press service Boule ring, Cartier, 1964 © press service
Suzanne Belperron (1900-1983)
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One of the most talented and original jewelers was born in Burgundy. A graduate of the School of Fine Arts of Besançon, she moved to Paris, where she got a job as a draftsman in the house of René Boivin (by that time the founder of the company, René Boivin, had already passed away - the wife of the deceased, Jeanne Boivin, hid this fact and took over the management of the company). Since 1920, Belperron designs have been added to the brand's collection. Her style was strikingly different from the prevailing Art Deco at that time with bold forms and unusual materials. She carved expressive curls from rock crystal, combined citrine and sapphire within one ring, placed a ruby inside quartz. Her style was revealed even more fully in the Herz company, for which she created exclusive things. “My style is my signature,” said the designer. She never signed her jewelry or kept a store, accepting customers by appointment in her salon on the Rue Chateauden. Jean Cocteau, Elsa Schiaparelli, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor came here to her (for the latter, Belperron created the famous set of blue chalcedony with a minimum of sapphires and diamonds). After the war, the company was named Herz-Belperron, and this is the rare case when a woman's name appeared on the company logo.and this is the rare case when a woman's name appeared on a company logo.and this is the rare case when a woman's name appeared on a company logo.
1 of 3 Leaves Necklace, Suzanne Belperron, 1930s © Press Office Earrings, Suzanne Belperron, 1950s © Press Office Godrons Ring, Suzanne Belperron, c. 1940 © press service
Gabrielle Chanel (1883-1971)
© Evening Standard / Hulton Archive / Getty Images
“I chose diamonds because they embody the greatest value in the smallest volume,” wrote Coco Chanel back in 1932, ahead of the show of her first and only jewelry collection, Bijoux de Diamants. In it, the Great Mademoiselle once and for all captured the main themes of Chanel: comets, stars, feathers, bows, fringe. Little is known about that legendary collection: according to some reports, it contained 37 pieces of platinum and colorless diamonds. There are no original sketches left, and only the Comète star brooch has survived from the collection. But history has preserved photographs, and seven years ago a black and white newsreel from that presentation was discovered. This evidence alone is enough to understand how innovative and fashionable Mademoiselle's approach to jewelry was: she passionately wanted her things to be worn, and in different ways. Therefore, on the mannequins, necklaces were worn as tiaras, and brooches were pinned to the belt or decorated the hair. For many years, the personality and biography of Chanel have been a source of inspiration for the creators of all Chanel Fine Jewelry collections without exception.
1 of 7 Photo from the presentation of the Bijoux de Diamants collection, 1932 © Press Service Franges necklace from the Bijoux de diamants collection, created by Chanel, 1932 Comete necklace from the Bijoux de diamants collection, created by Chanel, 1932 Invitation to the presentation of the Bijoux de Diamants collection 1932 © press service Bijoux de Diamants collection release, signed by Gabrielle Chanel, 1932 © press service Photo from the presentation of Bijoux de Diamants collection, 1932 The Icons of 1932 pendant, Chanel Fine Jewelry, 2020 © press service
Rene Puissant (1896-1942)
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The daughter of Van Cleef & Arpels founders Alfred Van Cleef and Estelle Arpels became the art director of the family brand in 1926, after the death of her husband Emile Puissant. Her close creative partner is the talented illustrator and designer René Sim Lacaz, who has worked for Van Cleef & Arpels since 1922. Rene herself did not know how to draw, but Lakaz picked up any of her ideas and embodied them on paper, and then together they finalized the sketches. The brilliant creative duo lasted from 1926 to 1939, marking the most fruitful period in the history of the brand. Over the years, many items have been created that have shaped the recognizable style of the jewelry house: the Panier Fleuri brooch, Ludo bracelets, and watches in the form of a Cadenas clasp. At the same time, the "invisible setting" technique and the minaudière were invented. René's life ended tragically in Vichy in 1942,during the fascist occupation.
1 of 3 Design for the Flower Bouquet brooch, 1938 © press service Design for the Flower Passe-Partout, 1938 © press service Passe-Partout transformable necklace, Van Cleef & Arpels, 1939 © press service
Elsa Peretti (born 1940)
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Elsa Peretti, an Italian from a wealthy Florentine family, entered jewelry design through fashion. In 1969 (by that time she was already a famous model and a novice jeweler), Giorgio di Sant'Angelo used her jewelry for his fashion show. At the same time, Elsa met the legendary Roy Halston, who soon introduced her to the head of Tiffany & Co. Walter Hoving. The contract was concluded instantly: the plastic organic forms of her silver jewelry made a splash. Elsa invented her main bestseller, the ergonomic Bone cuff bracelet, in 1970. The polished silver strap was detailed in the shape of a woman's wrist with a prominent bone. The design of the bracelet for the right and left hand was different, so they were purchased in pairs and worn on both hands. “The style should be simple! says Peretti."And the correct form exists outside of time." Not surprisingly, half a century later, the iconic Bone bracelet has been re-released in new versions: copper coated in bright red, blue and green metallic shades, as well as silver or yellow gold with jade and turquoise inlays.
1 of 6 Elsa Peretti Bone Cuff Bracelets, Tiffany & Co., 2020 Elsa Peretti Bone Cuff Bracelets, Tiffany & Co., 2020 © Press Service Elsa Peretti Bone Cuff Bracelets in Silver and Copper Plated, Tiffany & Co., 2020 Elsa Peretti Bone Cuff bracelets in silver with inlays of black and green jadeite and turquoise, Tiffany & Co., 2020 Elsa Peretti Bone Cuff bracelets, Tiffany & Co., 2020 © press service Advertising of Bone bracelet, Tiffany & Co., 1980s
Heritage Directors - on vintage jewelry in brand archives.