Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Fulco di Verdura, the "shell jeweller"

Born in Sicily in 1898, he was brought up in his grandmother's country house outside Palermo. The novel "The Leopard," written by a cousin, Giuseppe di Lampedusa, depicts his eccentric aristocratic and artistic family, according to Ward Landrigan, now the owner of the Verdura business legacy. In any event, the jeweler's early life in the Sicilian sunlight, as described in his 1976 autobiography, "The Happy Summer Days," had an important impact on his work.

Large, unsubtle, gemstones, a preference for gold, bright colors and a taste for natural objects - Verdura's designs often feature animals, flowers and seashells - found their way first into watercolors, and later into his jewelry. All went directly against the style of the time, which leant towards a delicate white-on-white vogue for platinum and diamonds.

Read more here.