THE STYLE LIST
Juliet Weir-de La Rochefoucauld’s book Women Jewellery Designers; and carpets by Nada Debs for FBMI
I n this day and age, the coffee-table book is both a novelty and an anomaly. In a digital world where consumers can effortlessly browse through art and fashion content on their computers, tablets and smartphones, it can be hard to find tomes that are captivating enough to splurge on.
A new book, titled Women Jewellery Designers, makes the cut. Its cover image, an ornate, art-decoinspired necklace featuring layers of diamonds and aquamarines, set against a minimal white background, makes it covetable from the outset – and its pages contain fascinating details about female jewellery designers from around the world.
Starting from the 20th century, the book offers readers insight into the history and workings of the fine-jewellery industry. Author Juliet Weir-de La Rochefoucauld reveals that prior to the two world wars, the industry, was in fact, dominated mostly by male designers – even though jewellery was almost solely worn by women.
Olga Tritt, the Russian-born designer of the dazzling necklace on the cover, French jeweller Suzanne Belperron, and the imitable Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel
are some of the early creatives who helped pave the way for the female jewellery designers of the future. The author brings a unique perspective to the topic. Weir-de La Rochefoucauld is the great-granddaughter of Thomas Weir, the founder of Dublin-based jeweller Weir & Sons, which was established in 1869, and is a fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain. She worked at Sotheby’s in London, and wrote a previous book entitled 21st-Century Jewellery Designers: An Inspired Style.
In her latest book, she explores the wearable works of notable designers such as Marina Bulgari, Paloma Picasso, Alma Pihl and Juliette Moutard, and also examines the roles of Jeanne Toussaint, who reigned as the artistic director of Cartier’s jewellery department for a decade, and Renée Puissant, the daughter of Van Cleef & Arpels founders Estelle and Alfred, who served as the maison’s artistic director in the early 1920s. Contemporary female jewellery designers such as Taiwan’s Cindy Chao, Turkey’s Aida Bergsen and Los Angeles-based Cynthia Bach are also featured within the illustrious hardcover.