Paloma Picasso is a celebrated jewelry designer known by her trademark red lips (she began wearing red lipstick at age 6) and for her brilliant jewelry designs - gems framed in blocks of gold, large stones and metal pendants on simple cords, and gold or silver “hugs and kisses” (“X’s” and “O’s”). Her unusual combinations of pearls, vibrant semi-precious stones, and metals have earned her the honor of being one of the most influential women in style.
Housed in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History is Picasso’s 396.30-carat kunzite necklace
The youngest daughter of 20th century painter Pablo Picasso and painter and writer Françoise Gilot, Paloma Picasso began her career in 1968 as a costume designer in Paris. While in Paris she gained attention from critics for the rhinestone necklaces she created from stones purchased at flea markets. Encouraged by this early success, she pursued formal schooling in jewelry design. A year later, Ms. Picasso presented her first efforts to her friend, Yves Saint Laurent, who immediately commissioned her to design accessories to accompany one of his collections. By 1971, she was working for the Greek jewelry company Zolotas.
Picasso briefly lost interest in designing following the death of her father in 1973, at which time she played Countess Erzsébet Báthory in Polish filmmaker Walerian Borowczyk’s erotic film, Immoral Tales (1974). She has not acted since. “I had given up designing when my father died in 1973, ” she recounted to the New York Times. “I didn’t feel like doing anything. I just looked at all the paintings, and there was the sense of being overwhelmed.” Ms. Picasso’s father had left no will, and his illegitimate children, Paloma, her brother Claude, and her half-sister Maya, brought suit for their share of the estate, which was valued at $250 million. When Paloma Picasso finally won her share of the inheritance, which was estimated to be close to $90 million, she chose some of her father’s works. As the French government had also received a huge sum and a collection of works as taxes from the estate, Picasso consented to assist in the creation of the Musée Picasso in Paris.
“When Tiffany’s asked me about doing jewelry, I was thrilled, ” Picasso told the New York Times. She had always wanted to design for an American store. “I went into all the great jewelry shops of Paris. They are so grand, the salespeople seem to look down on you. As a customer you feel threatened. Tiffany is a great place because all kinds of people come in, just like Woolworth’s.”
“Paloma has taken the gaudiness out of jewelry but kept the glitter. ” Says Loring.
Picasso continues to design fabulous jewelry for Tiffany & Company. Her tenth anniversary collection, which was presented in 1990, was described in Mirabella magazine (a now defunct magazine that ran from 1989-2000 for anyone curious) as “having the raw power of just-cut stones and just-mined minerals.”
In the New York Times, Picasso remarked that while “jewelry should be jewelry, something that you wear, ” it “is more permanent, less superficial than fashion.” Although her creations
At DGX right now we have two Tiffany & Co. Paloma Picasso pieces, two of her iconic designs, lightning bolt earrings and an “xxx” pin (three kisses!)
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