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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.

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