AN ATTRACTIVE DIAMOND, ENAMEL AND GOLD DOUBLE FISH BROOCH, BY SCHLUMBERGER, TIFFANY
Designed as two pavé-set diamond fish, each enhanced by red enamel and gold fins and a cabochon emerald eye, suspended from a baguette-cut diamond tied ribbon, mounted in platinum and gold, in a suede case, circa 1965
Signed by Schlumberger, Tiffany
As a consummate jewelry designer, Jean Schlumberger had a gift for understanding the essence of nature. In an interview with Thomas Hoving for an article in Connoisseur, April 1982, Schlumberger describes his design process as his desire to ". . . capture the irregularity of the universe. I observe nature and find verve." The illustrated Poissons clip brooch, designed in 1965, epitomizes this statement. Two fish are suspended from the ribbons of a diamond-set bow; one by the mouth, the other, by the tail. On the body, pave-set diamonds simulate scales while red enamel highlights the fish's swimming organs, the fins and the tail. When worn, both fish move slightly in a manner similar to diamond jewelry from the 19th century set en tremblant.
When viewed from the front side, the Poissons clip brooch is beautifully conceived. Turn it over and it reveals an intricate construction, worthy of an engineer. What appear to be tiny knots of gold are in actuality bolts and screws which hold the mounting together. Beyond its functional nature, a Schlumberger piece is made to be admired from the back as well as from the front.
The Poissons clip brooch starred in a Gene Moore Tiffany window display on July 29, 1965 at a critical time when a water shortage had just been announced in New York City. Mrs. Revson remembers the clip brooch dangling at the end of a fisherman's line; the fisherman in his boat floating in what appeared to be water but was, in fact, gin. As a gesture to save water, Moore had substituted the liquor for water and placed a sign in the window that read, " No! No! No! this is not precious city water. It's just some unprecious old gin."
The Poissons clip brooch was included in the Tiffany & Co. exhibition in 1986, held in celebration of the thirtieth anniversary of Schlumberger's association with the firm. It was also on view recently at the Musée des Arts décoratifs in Paris and appeared in the catalogue for the exhibition, Un Diamant Dans La Ville, Jean Schlumberger 1907-1987, Bijoux-Objets, page 109 with a description on page 135. It is also illustrated in Diana Vreeeland, Bijoux de Jean Schlumberger, 1976, page 125 and 149; Vogue Italia, April supplement 1978; Jewel, winter 1988; and FMR, December 1991.