Kaleidoscope effect

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Elsa Schiaparelli vintage costume jewellery

Elsa Schiaparelli vintage costume jewellery

Grape earrings, gold tone metal, rhinestones. Elsa Schiaparelli vintage costume jewellery

Elsa Schiaparelli vintage costume jewellery

Born in Rome, Italy, Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973) – a talented jewelry designer, worked in a surreal direction that shocked critics in the 1930s. However, her products quickly gained popularity and still admired by modern collectors.
Just like Coco Chanel, Shiaparelli believed that costume jewelry is both an independent art and an integral part of clothing. However, the style of her ornaments has nothing in common. Unlike the elegant classical design of Chanel’s products, the decorations of Schiaparelli made in 1920-30’s had unexpected forms. She used circus and astrological motifs, and the natural forms of flora and fauna acquired an irrational stylized character. The strangest specimens included pea pods as pendants in necklaces and brooches in the form of human eyes… . The apparent authenticity of the forms in these ornaments seemed to dissolve in the unnatural choice and combination of objects.
Undoubtedly, the modernist trend in the art of the twentieth century – surrealism influenced her creativity. Besides, Shiaparelli had creative contacts with the vivid representatives of this dorection. The influence of surrealism on the works of Schiaparelli is most noticeable in her dramatic collection of 1936 “Shocking Pink”. In fact, this color becomes dominant in her decorations.

1950s Pink Moonglow Lucite Earring with AB Rhinestones, Elsa Schiaparelli vintage costume jewellery

1950s Pink Moonglow Lucite Earring with AB Rhinestones, Elsa Schiaparelli vintage costume jewellery

According to her biography, in the early 1920’s she moved to New York and became a screenwriter. However, soon returned to Paris and opened her first fashion house on the Rue de la Paix in Paris. She becomes a competitor Coco Chanel and friend of the artist Salvador Dali.

In 1940, Elsa Shiaparelli moved to New York and returned from New York to Paris, to her fashion house, only in 1945. And then she opens the first ready-to-wear store in New York. After selling her store in Paris in 1954, giving way to her talented assistants Hubert Jivanshi and Pierre Carden, she returns to New York and begins the second phase of her work. In the 1950s, Shiaparelli released a series of decorations of abstract, floral and animal motifs with the characteristic use of unusual stones and colors.

These ornaments and products of the 1940s are the most popular among collectors today (copies of the 1930s are very rare). The collector should know that the early works of Shiaparelli are not signed, although on some her name is in big block letters on a rectangular plate. Unlike earlier works, late French and American jewelry – signed by her name. Counterfeits (and legal copies of the 1980s) are not unknown. Nevertheless, buying through well-known dealers or auctions enjoying a good reputation is the best protection against forgery.

Surrealist artists Salvador Dali, Jean Cocteau and Christian Berar were close friends of Shiaparelli. They developed the design of jewelry for her, and their concept of surrealism so influenced the work of Shiaparelli that her own design of the products was sometimes shocking.

The motifs of flora and fauna are the main ones in the decorations of Shiaparelli. Fantastic sea corals made of glass and transparent rock crystal (necklace and bracelet on advertising in 1952); brooch and earrings from a matte lucite of light green and pink color, framed in a gilded metal. The main sources of inspiration for the work of Shiaparelli were the nature and philosophy of surrealism. Pink – her business card – is becoming a fashion trend. Exotic stones, necklaces began to appear in the adornments. Schiaparelli, however, soon got carried away with the production of cosmetics.

“Fashion is born thanks to the smallest facts, trends and even politics, but never because of attempts to make loops or folds, trinkets or clothes that are easy to replicate, shortening or lengthening skirts.”

Unfortunately, in the end of the 1950s the level of production was declining.
Elsa Schiaparelli died in 1973.

Elsa Schiaparelli vintage costume jewellery

Source:
Judith Miller – Jewelry. Collector’s Guide – 2004