In 1965, as head of Sotheby’s New York jewelry division, Ward Landrigan noticed certain distinctive jewels rarely made it to the auction block. He later realized were the products of two jewelers. One was widely known and publicized: Duke Fulco di Verdura. The other a mystery. Her daring jewelry was unsigned – with only French hallmarks and the stamp of a renowned Parisian workshop. That Suzanne Belperron had remained unknown was no accident. Unlike the very gregarious duke, she was intensely private. Asked once why she never signed her jewelry she replied, “my style is my signature.”
In 1985 Ward Landrigan purchased the Verdura archives and began rebuilding the company. Two years later a full-page article appeared in a London, entitled “What Ever Happened to Duchess of Windsor’s Verdura Jewels? ” about the upcoming auction of her famous jewelry collection. While the Geneva sale brought a record of more than fifty million dollars, Landrigan didn’t manage to buy a single piece. Despite this disappointment, it was the sixteen Belperron jewels in the Duchess’ collection that made his trip worthwhile – Landrigan had become fascinated with the work of Suzanne Belperron. When he had the opportunity to buy Belperron’s name and archive of designs twelve years later, he didn’t hesitate.
In October 2015, under the leadership of Ward’s son Nico Landrigan, Belperron opened its inaugural flagship location on Fifth Avenue in New York, making this the first location in over forty years to exclusively feature the work of Suzanne Belperron. As the preeminent worldwide destination for Belperron jewelry, the new salon sells both vintage and new pieces.
Currently, Ward and Nico Landrigan are putting the finishing touches on Jewelry by Suzanne Belperron, a richly illustrated book to be published by Thames & Hudson for worldwide distribution in December of 2015. With over 300 photographs of jewelry from private collections, contemporary editorial and illustrations from her vast archive of designs, this will be the definitive volume on Suzanne Belperron’s extraordinary career.
The Belperron Collection has been created entirely from her archive of over 9,200 gouache paintings and designs many of which were never made in Madame Belperron’s lifetime. In keeping with her exacting standards, the jewelry is made in some of Paris’ oldest workshops, one of which has a direct family line to Belperron’s original master craftsmen.
Bringing all of her work under one roof, the Belperron salon features a large array of vintage pieces, many from important private collections from around the world. The Vintage Collection will be continually changing as pieces are sold and new ones uncovered. These pieces were all designed, and their production overseen, by Madame Belperron, their provenance spanning her entire design career from the 1930s to the 1970s.
The name and copyright to the archives of Suzanne Belperron, whose work was also known under the names B. Herz and Herz-Belperron, are owned by Belperron, LLC, a privately-held corporation.