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Verdura

Fulco di Verdura (1898–1978) is not exactly a household name, except for those who know a thing or two about highly original, often eccentric handcrafted jewelry and, even more so, for those fortunate enough to own some. In that exclusive group, Verdura is regarded as the most gifted and coveted designer of his time.

Verdura was born in Sicily in 1898, the scion of a noble family related to the Lampedusas. (His cousin, Giuseppe di Lampedusa, wrote the great Italian saga The Leopard). His life was charmed from birth. Raised in his family’s villa, he grew up during a time when Sicily, and Palermo in particular, were meccas for well-born and highly cultured European travelers.

A bona fide duke with no clear ambitions but creative leanings aplenty (he could draw and paint), the young Verdura was part of the wandering social circuit — the so-called beau monde — that went from capital to capital, resort to resort.

Verdura, though small in stature, had that indefinable quality called charm. As a result, he was the life of every party he attended. When he finally started designing jewelry under Coco Chanel in the late 1920s, many of his friends became his clients (or received the pieces as gifts). Elsa Maxwell took him under her ample wing when she was hired to do public relations for the Lido in Venice and introduced him to the local and visiting cognoscenti. Chanel, whom he met in Venice, hired him to work in the textiles division of her fashion house. But it was his flair for jewelry that soon caught Coco’s eye. Eventually, he rose to become her personal designer of fine jewelry.

In 2002’s Verdura: The Life and Work of a Master Jeweler (Thames & Hudson), Vanity Fair’s Amy Fine Collins describes the sensation of wearing pieces by Verdura, who drew inspiration from nature for his signature gem-studded seashell brooches and honeybee earrings. “They were ingeniously calculated to flatter the wearer,” writes Collins. “Earrings undulated to complement the convolutions of an earlobe, rings seductively followed the phalanges of a finger, and necklaces gracefully traced the anatomy of the throat.”

In 1934, Verdura left Chanel and together with two friends, aspiring actress Princess Natalia Pavlovna Paley and Baron Nicholas de Gunzburg, moved to the U.S. After several stops, he found a job through Diana Vreeland in Hollywood with Paul Flato, then the “jeweler to the stars.” Soon he was signing his work and helping Flato cultivate the crème de la creme of the silver screen — those both on it and behind it.

Verdura left Los Angeles for New York and opened his own salon, first on Fifth Avenue in 1939, just as World War II was beginning in Europe. His backers were Vincent Astor and Cole Porter, for whom he made bejeweled boxes and cigarette cases — gifts from Porter’s wife, Linda — to commemorate the opening nights of several musicals. Verdura began to expand both his repertoire — he became much more daring and flamboyant — and his clientele. The Duchess of Windsor, Daisy Fellowes, Greta Garbo and others routinely gave him commissions. In 1941, Verdura collaborated on a collection of six pieces with Salvador Dalí to accompany a Dalí exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. Verdura retired in 1972 and left the care of the company to his partner, Joseph Alfano. He later moved to London, where he died in 1978 at the age of 79.

Among the most prized pieces on display in a 2014 Verdura jewelry exhibition in New York were Greta Garbo’s curb-link bracelet watch, which Verdura designed for her in 1939; Coco Chanel’s pair of Maltese Cross cuff bracelets (she wore one on each wrist); and Diana Vreeland’s duo of Byzantine brooches.

Find a range of authentic Verdura jewelry today on 1stDibs.

Average Sold Price
$18,462
Styles
Verdura Criss Cross Wide Yellow Gold Cuff Bangle Bracelet
By Verdura
Located in Holland, PA
18k Yellow Gold Criss Cross Wide Cuff Bangle Bracelet by Verdura. Details: Weight: 64.3 grams Width: 1.5" Length: 6.25" Stamped Hallmarks: VERDURA 750 Your Price: $18,750 *Free Shi...
Category

2010s Verdura

Materials

Yellow Gold

Verdura Diamond 18 Karat Gold Mesh Purse Evening Bag
By Verdura
Located in New York, NY
Fine diamond and 18K yellow gold evening purse by Verdura, circa 1980s. It features a two color gold mesh design, with diamond and gold thumb leaves-like piece, and rope link chain. ...
Category

Late 20th Century Verdura

Materials

Diamond, 18k Gold, Yellow Gold, Gold, White Gold

Verdura Rock Crystal Five-Strand Bead Bracelet
By Verdura
Located in Palm Beach, FL
Verdura five-strand bead bracelet, featuring oval, polished, colorless, natural quartz rock crystal beads measuring 11-14 x 10-11mm each interspersed with five 18k yellow gold beads....
Category

2010s Modern Verdura

Materials

Crystal, Quartz, Rock Crystal, Gold, 18k Gold

Verdura Milan Clip Earrings in 18kt Yellow Gold with Carved Red Carnelian
By Verdura
Located in Miami, FL
Free form pair of clip-earrings designed by Verdura. A beautiful pair of clips earrings, created in Milan Italy by the renowned jewelry house of Verdura. These aesthetic free form e...
Category

1980s Italian Modernist Vintage Verdura

Materials

Carnelian, 18k Gold, Yellow Gold

Verdura Milan Clip Earrings in 18Kt Gold with 5.72 Cts Sapphires and Blue Agate
By Verdura
Located in Miami, FL
Free form pair of clip-earrings designed by Verdura. A beautiful pair of clips earrings, created in Milan Italy by the renowned jewelry house of Verdura. These aesthetic rare earrin...
Category

1970s Italian Modernist Vintage Verdura

Materials

Agate, Sapphire, 18k Gold, White Gold, Gold

Vintage Verdura Ring 18k Gold Citrine Italy Estate Jewelry
By Verdura
Located in Beverly Hills, CA
A stunning vintage 18k gold ring by Verdura featuring an emerald cut citrine. This bold scale ring is a head-turner and a conversation starter. This textured gold cocktail ring cent...
Category

1970s Vintage Verdura

Materials

Citrine, 18k Gold, Yellow Gold

Verdura 18K Yellow Gold Carved Agate, Coral, Pearl Bracelet
By Verdura
Located in New York, NY
Verdura 18K Yellow Gold Carved Agate, Coral, Pearl Bracelet. Verdura carved agate Maltese cross cuff set with coral, pearl diamonds, and round brilliant citrines. Originally designed...
Category

20th Century Modern Verdura

Materials

Agate, Coral, Pearl, Yellow Gold

Verdura Diamond, Platinum and 18k Gold Wrapped Heart Brooch
By Verdura
Located in New York, NY
Very fine vintage diamond, platinum and 18K yellow gold brooch by Verdura. It features the shape of a diamond encrusted heart, wrapped with a twisted gold rope, and finished off with...
Category

Late 20th Century Verdura

Materials

Diamond, 18k Gold, Platinum

Browse all Jewelry from Verdura
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Verdura Sellers

Greenleaf & Crosby
4.5
Nadine Krakov Collection
5.0
Select Antique Jewelry Inc
5.0
Eric Originals and Antiques LTD
5.0
Treasure Fine Jewelry
5.0
NALLY JEWELS
5.0

Verdura jewelry & watches for sale on 1stDibs

1stDibs offers a range of Verdura jewelry and watches. These unique items were designed with extraordinary care, often using gold. While looking for the most stylish antique or vintage Verdura jewelry to pair with your ensemble, you’ll find that Verdura diamond jewelry & watches can add a particularly distinctive touch to your look, from our inventory of 29. This collection contains 69 pieces as well as a number of other designs by this jeweler. Contemporary and Modern are among the most popular styles of Verdura watches and jewelry available on 1stDibs. While this collection reflects work that originated over various time periods, most of these items were designed during the 20th Century. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider jewelry & watches by Ciner, Cellini and , Christina Addison. Verdura jewelry and watches can vary in price depending on gemstone, time period and other attributes. The price for these items starts at $425 and tops out at $95,000, while pieces like these can sell for $15,767 on average.

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