Schiaparelli is one of the most sought after jewellery designers of the 20th century. Still a thriving haute couture house “Shocking” Schiaparelli turned the world of jewellery on its head during the 1930s – 1950s. While I will delve into the person of Elsa Schiaparelli herself in another blog (she’s worth it), Abdul Basit delivers an introduction into the world of the jewellery of this amazing fashion house.
In today’s contemporary world Schiaparelli Jewellery is well known for their diamond and platinum creations just like the Edwardians with the most intricate and lacey designs with exquisite filigree. The designers at Schiaparelli possess the required skill to create such brilliant designs that gives every single piece of jewellery an ‘iconic’ look and feel of antique Edwardian Style. The House of Schiaparelli is still a key player in the world of haute couture and worn by some of the most famous women in the world
History of Schiaparelli Jewellery
Elsa Schiaparelli the founder of Schiaparelli Jewellery born in Italy, opened her very first couture fashion house in Paris in 1920s. During World War II, she moved to the city of New York and later in 1949 opened her own outlet offering clothing items, jewellery, perfumes, lingerie and cosmetics. Her clothing line was characterized with the colour ‘hot pink’ contrasting with the brown, blue and black colour that accentuated women wear at that time. It was in the 1930s that she became a primary force in the world of fashion & jewellery like Coco Chanel where both were popular with celebrities around the globe.
Elsa Schiaparelli considered designing jewellery as an art, which made her choose the most creative designers thus collaborating with famous Surrealist artists. Some top designers like Jean Schlumberg, Roger Jean-Pierre, Jean Clement, Alberto Giacometti, Cecil Beaton and Pierre Hubert Givenchy worked with her creating timeless vintage pieces.
The Elsa Schiaparelli jewellery line ceased in the late 1950s and Elsa herself died in 1973.
Many different materials were used for crafting Schiaparelli jewellery from pot metals, silver and gold plate, silver sterling, bronze and other textured metals. Faux gems, Faux tourmaline, Aurora Borealis rhinestones, grey rhinestones, moulded green & pink iridescent glass stones, un-foiled glass stones and large-faceted glass stones were used in the rings, pendants and necklaces. Pearls and diamonds also to a great extent were crafted in jewellery items
Schiaparelli Jewellery Branding
Since Schiaparelli jewellery is very popular and easily available in current times, one need to be a little careful as counterfeits and fakes are in abundance. ‘Schiaparelli’ is clearly stamped and easily readable on all later hallmarked pieces. Fakes are either misspelled or the letters are scrunched together so can be easily detected. The early pieces from her Paris days are extremely rare and valuable but the 1940s-50s pieces are very collectable.
Although growing up in and influenced by the Edwardian period, especially as Art Nouveau was so influential in Europe, Schiaparelli jewellery from the beginning was bold and imaginative with innovative designs, but later she began to be known for whimsical designs where zodiac signs, circus themes, African art and stylised nature proved to be her inspiration. She was probably the first designer to make use of figural buttons as accessories like a pin or a brooch. Costume jewellery later became a passion with her. Engagement rings featured one large single diamond often surrounded by small diamonds or with sapphires on one side as a halo. Long engagement rings stretching down the length of the finger with intricate detailing of filigree work were also quite popular. In fact, the best designer Schiaparelli Edwardian style rings have become the most striking choice for engagements rings especially among those who cannot resist intricate patterns, detailed filigree or the ‘cigar band’ style of rings.
The images below show some of the most surrealist designs the Schiaparelli is famous for, from the 1950s, the 21st century, and the bug necklaces is from 1938!
The high period of Schiaparelli and their famous abstract and surreal styles mean that you can pair a piece of Schiaparelli jewellery with any outfit whether vintage or contemporary it will certainly add an extra flair to your look as these jewellery items though designed a long time ago are still thoroughly modern.