The following bracelet and ear clips, both designed by Fulco di Verdura for Chanel, are incredible survivors of one of the most important collaborations between a fashion and jewelry designer.
Fulco di Verdura, born in Palermo, Italy to an aristocratic family, grew up among the glamour of European society. Introduced to Coco Chanel by Linda and Cole Porter in the mid-1920s, Chanel soon hired Verdura as a textile designer in 1927. Quickly recognizing his passion and talent for designing jewelry, Chanel had Verdura remount stones and pieces from her collection which were gifted to her over the years by her various lovers.
Always one to believe that jewelry was about enhancing a woman’s personal style rather than displaying wealth, Chanel’s personal jewelry collection by the early 1930s was a-one-of-a-kind treasure trove filled with color and whimsy. Often cited as bringing fashion jewelry into vogue, Chanel owned pieces which were a mixture of fashion and fine jewelry. She often had precious rubies, emeralds and sapphires remounted in gilt metal or silver and wore them freely with strands of both natural and faux pearls; the entire look was more important than the value of the individual components in a jewel.
The jewelry that Chanel was most often associated with throughout her lifetime were the pieces created for her by Verdura, particularly her enamel cuffs and bangle bracelets in both black and ivory colored versions. The mixture of classic ivory-colored enamel with poured and faceted gripoix glass mounted in silver is a rare but iconic example of Chanel’s bold and unapologetic style of merging fine and fashion gem elements to create a one-of-a-kind jewel. The current bangle is a wonderful example of a jewel Chanel wore often and proudly.