Born in the town of Sainte-Claude in Eastern France, Suzanne Belperron was one of the most influential jewellery designers of the twentieth-century. Recognising her talent at an early age, Suzanne’s mother enrolled her in the School of Fine Arts at Besançon where she studied ‘Watch-making and Jewelry Decoration’, receiving an award in the school’s 1918 competition for her design of a pendant watch.
In 1919, the young designer moved to Paris and soon found a job at the Boivin atelier, where her flair for design was immediately recognised by Jeanne Boivin. In 1924, at a mere twenty-three years old, Suzanne became co-director of the Maison Rene Boivin. During the 1930s, she resigned from this position and took up a post as the exclusive designer to Maison Bernard Herz. Herz, who was of Jewish-origin, was captured by the Nazis in 1942 and was sent to an internment camp where he died the following year. Because of her association with Herz, Belperron was frequently questioned by the Gestapo, which prompted her to join the French Resistance. Once the war had reached its conclusion, Belperron went in to partnership with Jean Herz (son of Bernard) to form a company known as 'Jean Herz-Suzanne Belperron SARL' which continued until the 1970s.
Jewels by Suzanne Belperron are highly sought-after by collectors, and are characterised by highly innovative, rounded, sculptural forms, and frequently feature carved hardstones, such as rock crystal and onyx. Belperron did not sign her jewels, insisting that her unique style was her signature. Notoriously exclusive, she operated by appointment only and studied the lifestyle and appearance of the individual so that she could create a piece entirely tailored to them.