AN ATTRACTIVE DIAMOND AND GOLD BASKET EVENING BAG, BY SCHLUMBERGER, TIFFANY
Designed as an 18K gold oblong woven basket, the lid enhanced by the initials L.R. in pavé-set diamonds and gold, opening to reveal a mirror, with French hallmarks, in a suede fitted case, circa 1956, gross weight (including mirror)--13.25 ozs., 5½ x 3 x 2½ ins.
Signed by Schlumberger, Tiffany, France
One of the most gifted jewelry designers of the twentieth century, Jean Schlumberger was an acute observer of the world around him. He transformed everyday objects into works of art. The style of the illustrated handleless evening bag is derived from baskets used by shrimp fishermen to store their catch. Produced in an edition of three, it was made at the Schlumberger studio in Paris and retailed at Tiffany & Co. in New York. It dates to 1956, the year that Schlumberger began his association with the firm.
The ovoid form of the evening bag is constructed with woven gold wires that are interrupted after every twenty courses with twisted gold wire which serve to emphasize the horizontality of the form. When writing about a similar piece in the collection for the Art Institute of Chicago, Lynn Springer Roberts notes, "Maintaining such perfect consistency using hand techniques is, indeed, an achievement in the working of flexible gold wires which form this basket." An illustration appears on page 41 in A Decade of Decorative Arts, a catalogue for an exhibition held at the museum from November 12, 1986 to January 4, 1987.
The illustrated evening bag was given an additional enhancement, at Mrs. Revson's suggestion, by incorporating her initials, in pavé-set diamonds and gold, into the design. This piece was recently on view at the Musée des Arts décoratif in Paris and appeared in the accompanying catalogue, Un Diamant Dans La Ville, Jean Schlumberger 1907-1987, Bijoux-Objets, page 114. It also appeared in Harpers Bazaar, March 1957; Vogue France, December 1963; and Vogue, October 1967.