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Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Sicilian Item of the Day: The Duke of Magic

With clients like Greta Garbo and Coco Chanel, Palermo born Fulco di Verdura was the most famous of Sicily's jewellery designers.

From ruby hearts wrapped with braided gold rope to scallop shells studded with precious stones.The exquisite creations of Fulco di Verdura (1898-1978) are noted for their glorious exuberance and refined glamour.

Ashley Rudd looked gorgeous in them in the movie, DeLovely. Katherine Hepburn wore them in The Philadelphia Story. They were favourites of many other movie stars, such as Greta Garbo and Joan Crawford, and celebrities, such as the Duchess of Windsor, of whom the photographer, Horst, said that, "Verdura alone knew how to make her a Duchess." Often whimsical and playful, but still elegant, Fulco di Verdura's exquisite jewels made a huge impression on 'high society' in the 1930's.

Verdura was inspired by military themes, Byzantine themes and images from his beloved Sicily. He made jewellery in the shapes of pomegranates, eggplants and prickly pears (otherwise known as fichi d'india in Italian), and violet posies, for example. "I am more Sicilian than a prickly pear," he remarked!

He was called "The Duke of Magic", as Rainer Sigel writes for Solitaire Magazine

A contemporary Sicilian Jewellery designer that draw inspiration from Fulco di Verdura is Claudio Fiorentino.
An interesting book about Verdura's masteripeces can be found online here.

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