Suzanne Belperron, a talented jeweler

Suzanne Belperron, a talented jeweler

Suzanne Belperron is renowned for her revolutionary influence in the jewelry world. She is known for her distinctive and bold style, as well as for her prestigious collaborations. Her innovative creativity and artistic independence solidify her reputation in high jewelry.

Who is Suzanne Belperron ?

Suzanne Vuillerme was born in 1900 in Saint Claude, Jura, France. After graduating from the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Besançon, she moved to Paris and landed her first job at Jeanne Boivin, the widow of René Boivin. Suzanne Belperron designed jewelry models for the house for 13 years.

During the 1920s, Suzanne Belperron created jewelry for Maison Boivin that defied the Art Deco aesthetic. She favored new forms, strong volumes, and color, contradicting the geometric and white trends of the time. It was with this bold style that Suzanne Belperron made a name for herself. She was so confident in her drawing skills that she believed these pieces didn’t even need to bear her signature.

In 1924, Maison René Boivin appointed Suzanne Belperron as co-director. Probably tired of remaining anonymous, she left Boivin in 1932 to join Maison Herz and become its “exclusive, unique, and recognized artistic and technical director.” Herz and Belperron were well acquainted as Herz had been a supplier of pearls and gemstones to Maison Boivin. It was during this time that she collaborated with lapidary Adrien Louart (1890-1989). Meanwhile, the workshop of Groëné et Darde became her exclusive manufacturer. The jeweler designed all the models for the house and supervised their execution.

Quickly, Suzanne Belperron became a significant figure in the jewelry world. The biggest stars sought out Belperron’s jewelry: Joséphine Baker, Jeanne Lanvin, Nina Ricci, Diana Vreeland, and more. Major magazines showcased her pieces, including Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.

Suzanne Belperron continued creating jewelry until the 1970s and passed away in 1983 at the age of 82.

Suzanne Belperron’s jewelry in the art market

Since the Duchess of Windsor’s jewelry’s auction at Sotheby’s London in 1987, Suzanne Belperron’s name has regained popularity, and the jeweler’s value has been steadily rising for almost 40 years. For instance, her famous chalcedony parure became iconic, fetching the sum of CHF 627,000 (approximately €670,406).

dessin suzanne belperron parure calcédoine
Chalcedony parure once owned by the Duchess of Windsor by Suzanne Belperron, Photo credit Sotheby’s

Connoisseurs particularly appreciate jewelry adorned with rock crystal, chalcedony, or agate, leading to soaring auction prices for certain pieces. This is attributed to the technical challenge of cutting such gems to create exceptional jewelry.

In 2004, the french auction house Pierre Berger & associates highlighted Suzanne Belperron’s jewelry in Geneva. Record prices ensued, notably with a necklace of blue agate pearls fetching 126,430 Swiss francs (approximately €134,549).

Suzanne Belperron’s archives

In 2007, Olivier Baroin discovers the presumed destroyed archives of the jeweler. The documents were found in an abandoned apartment that had been untouched for over 20 years. By presenting these documents (drawings, correspondence, order books, plaster casts, and watercolors), he establishes authentication and restores Belperron’s name to pieces that had been attributed to others.

archives suzanne belperron

Olivier Baroin’s book* plays a crucial role in definitively cementing Suzanne Belperron’s legacy. It highlights her essential role in the history of Maison Boivin. The latest auction results bear witness to the soaring value of Belperron in the art market. Thus, her place among the most talented creators of the 20th century is now undeniable, and her legacy continues to shine through her highly prized works coveted by collectors worldwide.

*BAROIN, O. RAULET,S.,Suzanne Belperron. Pionnière du bijou moderne,2011.

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