Paloma Picasso is one of the world’s most acclaimed jewelry designers and a fashion icon. She is celebrated for creating jewelry of generous size and extraordinary beauty, inspired by her travels and the exotic places she has called home.
Born in Paris in 1949 to Pablo Picasso and Françoise Gilot, she spent her childhood in Paris and the south of France surrounded by artists and the vibrant, intellectual life of the period. After attending the Université de Paris at Nanterre, she became a costume designer and stylist for avant-garde productions in Paris.
Her talent for jewelry design soon emerged on the theatrical stage. In a moment of inspired improvisation, she created necklaces from gem-set bikinis designed for the Folies Bergères, which captured the attention of theater critics. Encouraged by this early success, the designer pursued formal schooling in jewelry design. A year later, Ms. Picasso presented her first efforts to her friend, famed couturier Yves Saint Laurent, who immediately commissioned her to design jewelry to complement his collections. Later she designed gold jewelry for the House of Zolotas, where she perfected her skills.
After her father’s death in 1973, she took a hiatus from designing jewelry to catalogue the artist’s estate and help establish the Musée Picasso in Paris. In 1979, then-Tiffany Design Director John Loring invited Ms. Picasso to present a table setting for one of Tiffany’s exhibitions. A year later, Tiffany introduced Paloma Picasso’s first exclusive collection of jewelry, which was instantly embraced for its innovative “graffiti” shapes, bold scale and brilliant color contrasts.
Her choice of whimsical shapes, links and weaves, together with her unique color combinations, have earned Ms. Picasso an international reputation. Throughout her long collaboration with Tiffany, she has created many one-of-a-kind accessories and important necklaces, mounting some of the largest and finest specimens of colored gemstones.
John Loring describes Paloma Picasso’s designs as “aggressively chic and uncompromisingly stylized. Her signature is seen in X’s, scribbles and zigzags, all sculpted in gold. She also punctuates gold with lavishly scaled colored gemstones.”
In recognition of her achievements, two American museums have acquired Ms. Picasso’s work. The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History houses her spectacular 396.30-carat kunzite necklace. And her 408.63-carat moonstone bracelet with diamond “lightning bolts” is in the permanent collection of Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History.
In 1988, she was honored by The Fashion Group International for her great contribution to the industry. The Hispanic Designers Inc. presented her with its MODA award for design excellence, and she has been inducted into the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame. In 2011, she was honored by an exhibition of her work at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, in Washington, DC.
She marked her 30th anniversary at Tiffany & Co. in 2010 with the introduction of three new jewelry collections—Paloma’s Marrakesh, Hammered Circles and Paloma’s Dove—each an elegant statement of her timeless sophistication.
Ms. Picasso is married to Dr. Eric Thévenet, a doctor of osteopathic medicine, whose interest in art and design has provided valuable insight toward the creation of her jewelry collections. Dr. Thévenet also is credited with contributing to the overall success of Ms. Picasso’s jewelry business. “Eric’s keen sense of business and aesthetics has been extremely beneficial to me,” said Picasso. They have residences in Lausanne and Marrakesh.
Ms. Picasso continues to expand her existing jewelry designs and introduce new creations as well. Her signature collections grace Tiffany & Co. stores around the world.
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Original designs copyrighted by Paloma Picasso.