Verdura: The Life and Work of a Master Jeweler

Verdura: The Life and Work of a Master Jeweler

by Patricia Corbett
     
 

Verdura’s beguiling jewelry, from ruby hearts wrapped with braided gold rope to scallop shells studded with precious stones.The exquisite creations of Fulco di Verdura (1898–1978) are noted for their glorious exuberance and refined glamour. Verdura left his ancestral home in Palermo in the mid-1920s and moved to Paris where he hoped to be a painter; his

Overview

Verdura’s beguiling jewelry, from ruby hearts wrapped with braided gold rope to scallop shells studded with precious stones.The exquisite creations of Fulco di Verdura (1898–1978) are noted for their glorious exuberance and refined glamour. Verdura left his ancestral home in Palermo in the mid-1920s and moved to Paris where he hoped to be a painter; his true vocation was revealed once he began designing striking jewelry for the discriminating customers of Coco Chanel.Patricia Corbett documents Verdura’s fascinating career, which took him from Paris to Los Angeles and New York. He was patronized by the rich and famous, who found that his sophisticated and flamboyant neo-Baroque style perfectly complemented their tastes. Marlene Dietrich and Greta Garbo, among others, were devoted admirers, along with many of society’s prominent figures, including the Duchess of Windsor and legendary fashion editor Diana Vreeland.Corbett was given access to all of Verdura’s archives and interviewed many of his surviving patrons. Wonderful color photography of the jewelry, as well as the archival images of Verdura and the people who wore his pieces, bring the irresistible beauty and genius of Verdura’s designs to life.

Editorial Reviews

bn.com
The Barnes & Noble Review
Verdura: The Life and Work of a Master Jeweler is a romantic tale that reads like a who's who of the early and mid-20th century. Fulco de Santostefano della Cerda, born in Sicily in 1892, was much more than a jeweler. He was a pleasure-loving aristocrat who became Duke of Verdura in 1922 and belonged to the jet-set society for whom he created his unique jewelry. Although he died in 1978, a whole new generation is discovering Verdura, and the house is "hot" again. Many Verdura designs are well known and recognizable at first glance: Chanel's Maltese cross cuffs, exotic animal pins, and jewel-encrusted shell compacts, in stunning combinations of precious and semiprecious stones. The sea was one of the most frequently recurring themes in Verdura's work.

Composer Cole Porter and his wife, Linda, discovered Verdura while honeymooning in Palermo, Sicily. Up to that point, Verdura had been living a life of leisure, even though his family's fortune was much diminished. The Porters recommended him to Coco Chanel, who discovered his talent when she asked him to make some jewelry to go with the simple clothes she designed. Verdura next migrated to America, where he thrived on the West Coast, among Hollywood's glitterati, but soon realized that "movie people like to wear things from N.Y." He left Hollywood behind and settled in New York, where he established his Fifth Avenue salon with Cole Porter's help. Verdura continued to operate the establishment until his death.

This magnificent coffee-table book is not only for fine jewelry fans. History buffs will also enjoy the story of one of the leading Renaissance men of the 20th century. Vivian Kelly

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780500287200
Publisher:
Thames & Hudson
Publication date:
04/28/2008
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 12.00(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

Patricia Corbett is an art historian and curator. She was the European editor of Connoisseur and her articles have appeared in The New York Review of Books and The New York Times. She is the author of Verdura:The Life and Work of a Master Jeweler.

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