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The Real Deal | dkfarnum
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The Real Deal

Much interest has been expressed in the process of valuating and pricing estate jewelry; and our recent mailings address this important subject.

Shown here is a spectacular pair of rock crystal, platinum and diamond clips made by Suzanne Belperron (1900-1983) in the 1930’s, during her time designing for the House of Boivin. These are in our Private Collection. Not easy to photograph old diamonds or rock crystal so please bear with us…We have a Certificate of Authenticity or “Attestation” from the Belperron archives (Francoise Cailles and Jean Norbert Salit), which describes these clips as a Belperron design from the 1930’s, made while Belperron was designing for the House of Boivin. As Belperron did not sign her work and the House of Boivin did not attribute her designs as hers (this is why, after 13 years designing for the House of Boivin, Belperron left), much sleuthing is required.

Olivier Baroin and Sylvie Raulet are authors of the definitive volume on Belperron, and Francoise Cailles of the volume on Boivin. These books are no longer in print and the books themselves command thousands of dollars. Each has access to the Belperron and Boivin archives, respectively. Ward and Nico Landrigan now own the Belperron archives from which they are reproducing some pieces. Their company issues certificates of authenticity on certain pieces as well.

Suzanne Belperron’s voice was a distinctive, singular one. She used materials that were avant-garde, including rock crystal, chalcedony and yellow “virgin” gold (a favorite of hers), semi-precious stones, minerals. Her designs were innovative, modern designs for the modern woman. She is quoted often saying “my style is my signature.”

Belperron’s designs are always recognizable, and they have left an indelible mark on jewelry design. Her brooches are among the most iconic of her pieces. We had platinum slip backs created for these so that they may be worn as earrings without changing or compromising the original design.

The most exceptional pieces of Belperron rarely come to market and her earlier and privately held pieces command the highest prices. The Dutchess of Windsor Collection that came to auction at Sothebys in 1987 with several Belperron pieces set record high prices.

Rumor had it that Belperron had burned her archives during World War II, but many of her personal files and records were discovered in Montmartre in 2007. Drawings, sketches, and order books were found with extensive details written in her own hand dating from 1937 to 1974. Her client list was a who’s-who of nobility, high society customers who came to her in Paris as she was considered the most talented designer of her time. Tracing customers and orders is of paramount importance in authenticating jewelry, especially unsigned pieces.

Often Belperron pieces have workshop marks, but wear and tear can obliterate these. The Belperron order books had 7,500 pages with over 6,700 clients and over 45,000 appointments. The authentication process is laborious and time consuming. But a proper authentication will help value a piece enormously. A Belperron ring without attribution was sold in Paris at auction in 2017 for $4,400. The buyer had the ring authenticated by Olivier Baroin which took several months. It then went to auction in October 2018 and sold for $88,400.

Almost all Belperron pieces began with a hand painted design, with a schematic for materials and scale. The older pieces were mostly private commissions and made by hand.

The market for Belperron remains very strong, especially for the pieces that date before 1970 and the designs that are not as commonly seen. Still elegant, refined and chic we love Belperrons distinctive aesthetic. We have had the good fortune to buy and sell several of her important pieces in recent years. Please contact us if you have pieces to authenticate or sell. We are always on the lookout for treasures!

Call the DKF Personal Assistant
(917) 841-8405
to order or for further details