Give ‘em the old razzle dazzle! The new National Museum of Qatar is now hosting “Magnificent Jewels of Jean Schlumberger,” an exhibition of the fantasy jewelry that Schlumberger created for one of his most important clients, Rachel Lambert “Bunny” Mellon. Schlumberger, who fought under General Charles de Gaulle during World War II, began by creating buttons for the surrealist couturier Elsa Schiaparelli and by 1956 was vice-president of Tiffany’s. His clients included the Duchess of Windsor, Diana Vreeland, Babe Paley, C. Z. Guest, Elizabeth Taylor, and, of course, Mellon. She commissioned some 140 pieces from Schlumberger—the iconic bird brooch of 1965 is in this show, as well as the enameled “Jackie bracelets” that the First Lady, Mellon’s close friend, wore in triplicate. Mellon and Schlumberger, whom she called Johnny, had an enduring romance as friends and lovers.
Schlumberger, who took inspiration from flora, fauna, and the sea, loved the play of color and light that came from mingling precious rubies, sapphires, and emeralds with, say, the spring green of semiprecious peridots or the lunar glow of moonstones. Diamonds, to Schlumberger, were rather vulgar. Still, he designed the mounting for Tiffany’s famous yellow diamond, a jaw-dropper that has been worn by only three women: Mellon, Audrey Hepburn, and Lady Gaga.