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Verdura: The Life and Work of a Master Jeweler
     

Verdura: The Life and Work of a Master Jeweler

by Patricia Corbett, Amy Fine Collins (Introduction)
 
A master of metamorphosis, Sicilian duke turned jewelry designer Fulco di Verdura (1898-1978) studded seashells with precious gems, transformed sailor's knots into pearl encrusted necklaces, and wrapped blazing ruby hearts with braided gold rope. Since the mid 20th century, his ultrasophisticated neo Baroque pieces have been the status symbols of a near secret society

Overview

A master of metamorphosis, Sicilian duke turned jewelry designer Fulco di Verdura (1898-1978) studded seashells with precious gems, transformed sailor's knots into pearl encrusted necklaces, and wrapped blazing ruby hearts with braided gold rope. Since the mid 20th century, his ultrasophisticated neo Baroque pieces have been the status symbols of a near secret society of European blue bloods, Hollywood royalty, and Park Avenue patricians. Verdura's by appointment only patrons included Wallis Simpson, Marlene Dietrich, and Diana Vreeland, who considered his Maltese Cross cuffs an essential part of her daily uniform. In this lavish book, featuring fresh color photographs as well as vintage images, Patricia Corbett presents a deft evaluation of Verdura's work and a glimpse inside his impossibly glamorous world. Patricia Corbett is co author of Fabrics: The Decorative Art of Textiles and former European Editor for Connoisseur. Amy Fine Collins is a special correspondent for Vanity Fair who writes about design, art, fashion, culture, and society.

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:
9780810935297
Publisher:
HNA Books
Publication date:
12/28/2002
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
9.20(w) x 12.32(h) x 0.93(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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