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A rare gold and gem-set lighter, Jean Schlumberger, circa 1939
In 1939, Jean Schlumberger created his first design in precious metals and gemstones, Poisson, a flexible gold fish with incised scales and one sapphire and one ruby eye on a head that flipped open to reveal a lighter mechanism. This clever sardine would launch his career, appearing in Harper's Bazaar and gracing the handbags of fashionable women and the pockets of dapper men including Diana Vreeland and Kenneth Jay Lane, who donated his lighter to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Schlumberger's clever and beautiful interpretations of natural motifs eventually lead Tiffany & Co. to hire him and he was the first designer to sign his work for the firm, including later versions of this articulated lighter. This fantastic fish is just as witty and stylish today as when Schlumberger designed it. As he said, "I observe nature and I find verve".
Courtesy of Sarah Davis
Cf. C. Bizot and E. Posseme, et al., The Jewels of Jean Schlumberger, Abrams, 2009, p. 28-29 and p. 50.
Cf. J. Falino and Y. Markowitz, American Luxury: Jewels from the House of Tiffany, ACC, 2009, fig. 114.
Cf. Harper's Bazaar, March 1939, 99. p. 60 and 62.
Please note that the cataloging should read 'outer case mounted in 18k gold'