Trophée de Vaillance, Jean Schlumberger’s Design for Diana Vreeland
In 1955 the art magazine Apollo published an eight-page article dedicated to the French jewelry designer Jean Schlumberger (1908-1987), calling his creations representations of “fantasy and thought.” [i] The article included Schlumberger’s Trophée de Vaillance (Trophy of Valor), a clip crafted from platinum, gold, diamonds, amethysts, rubies, and enamel. Created in 1941 while working in New York, Schlumberger designed the jewel for his dear friend Diana Vreeland (1903-1989).
Prior to working in New York, Schlumberger was involved in Paris’s Surrealist artistic circles – the leading avant-garde art movement of the interwar period. He created whimsical jewelry and accessories for the city’s socialites and artists. Schlumberger’s approach to designing - using dreams as inspiration and creating a jewel for pure beauty, not for intrinsic value – was influenced by his involvement with the Surrealists. This essay will explore the development of Schlumberger’s Surrealist aesthetic, his ideas about jewelry designing, and the inspiration behind the Trophée de Vaillance.
[i] Marie Louise D’Otrange-Mastai, “Jean Schlumberger: Creator of Jewels,” Apollo (June 1955): 164.