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Jean Schlumberger, Tiffany's Master Jewelry Designer, Dies

September 08, 1987|From Times Wire Services

NEW YORK — Jean Schlumberger, the master jewelry designer known for his spectacular combinations of colored stones and the craftsman entrusted to set the 129-carat Tiffany diamond 30 years ago, has died in Paris, Tiffany announced Tuesday. He was 80 and had been weakened by a series of strokes.

Schlumberger gained international fame during his long association with Tiffany & Co. in New York, where he held the position of vice president and had his own salon. It was reached by a private elevator and on it could be seen such prominent women as the Duchess of Windsor, Gloria Swanson, Babe Paley and Francoise de la Renta.

His clients were drawn by his opulent, often fanciful jewelry. "I try to make everything look as if it were growing, uneven, at random, organic, in motion," Schlumberger once said.

Born in Mulhouse, France, Schlumberger was the son of a wealthy textile manufacturer. He sketched as a youth, but his parents denied him formal training in an attempt to discourage his artistic ambition.

He persisted, beginning his career by making buttons and costume jewelry for a Paris dress designer.

Schlumberger served in the French army during World War II, survived Dunkirk and joined the Free French forces. He went to New York after the war, found work as a clothing designer and opened a jewelry salon in 1946.

Ten years later he joined Tiffany.

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