Siegelson offers a rare Verdura for Flato treasure.
By Laurie Kahle, August 09, 2011
By Laurie Kahle
Siegelson, a New York City dealer specializing in rare jewelry and objets d’art, possesses a number of precious masterpieces, including this circa 1935 treasure designed by Fulco, Duke of Verdura, and made by Paul Flato, both legends of 20th-century jewelry design. During Hollywood’s golden age in the 1930s and ’40s, tinsel town’s most glamorous starlets, including Joan Crawford and Marlene Dietrich, trusted Flato to make them sparkle.
One of Flato’s most famous collaborators was Verdura, who designed this belt necklace set with 566 rectangular and fancy brilliant-cut aquamarines and 39 oval and fancy-cut rubies. Verdura, who had worked for Coco Chanel in Paris before moving to New York, was so prominent that he earned a special design credit, “Verdura for Flato.” Verdura opened his own New York boutique in 1939, and his brand is one of few from the era to have survived.
Songwriter Cole Porter and his wife Linda, who were avid connoisseur collectors, purchased the necklace, which was later bequeathed to Ava Astaire, Fred Astaire’s daughter. More recently, the piece inspired Karl Lagerfeld to create a stone-covered belt in his Paris-byzance pre-fall 2011 collection for Chanel. One can only imagine how this would have pleased Verdura, who got his start working for Mademoiselle.