Among Tiffany’s impressive catalogue of jewellery designers is Paloma Picasso, daughter of iconic Cubism artist, Pablo Picasso, and painter Francoise Gilot. Being born of such highly esteemed contributors to 20th century art, expectations were high for Paloma and her siblings. Instead of paintings, however, Paloma’s creativity shone in the world of jewellery design, which resulted in her being commissioned by Tiffany & Co. Read on to explore the world of Paloma Picasso and her relationship with Tiffany.
Paloma Picasso: The Early Years
Born in Vallauris, France, on 19th April 1949, Paloma was known from birth as Anne Paloma Ruiz-Picasso y Gilot. She was noticed for her creativity and bold sense of style from an early age. It’s thought that she started wearing bright red lipstick – which came to be her signature look – from as early as six years old.
In 1968, at the age of 19, Paloma was working as a costume designer in Paris. At this job she created several pieces of jewellery using rhinestones, which caught the attention of critics. Encouraged, she then set out to study jewellery design to hone her skills.
Becoming a Jeweller
After completing a year of schooling, Paloma Picasso presented some of her jewellery designs to good friend and well-established fashion designer, Yves Saint Laurent. Impressed with what he saw, Laurent then invited Paloma to produce some pieces to accompany his latest collection.
Then, in 1971, Paloma began working for the renowned Greek jeweller, Zolotas. After well establishing herself as a contributing jeweller here, Paloma was then commissioned by Tiffany in 1980.
Tiffany’s Designer: Paloma Picasso
In 1979, Paloma was requested by Tiffany’s Design Director, John Loring, to design a table setting for one of the company’s exhibitions. Having impressed attendees and the Tiffany team, she was soon brought onboard as a Tiffany’s designer. In 1980, Paloma Picasso’s first collection of jewellery for Tiffany was introduced: Paloma’s Graffiti.
Paloma’s Graffiti Collection
Through the 1970s, graffiti appeared in towns and cities all over the world, but where many people saw this as ugly and aggressive, Paloma saw an opportunity. “I wanted to look at graffiti differently and try to make something positive out of it”, she remarks.
The collection was revolutionary, forcing designers and fashion-followers to reconsider their preconceptions about what was ‘beautiful’ and what was not. By incorporating precious stones and metals, Paloma certainly made this style of street art beautiful.
Paloma’s Signature Style
Known for being bold and colourful in her own personal style, Paloma soon gained a name for herself because of the use of colour in her jewellery. Through the 1980s she popularised the use of multicoloured gems, which are seen throughout her different collections including Olive Leaf, Paloma’s Sugar Stacks, and Paloma’s Studio collection.
The Olive Leaf Collection
With a love of travel, Paloma saw much of the world before settling into homelife in Morocco. Her new environment largely influenced the Olive Leaf collection, which uses designs of intertwining leaves with vibrant gemstones including peridots, rubellites, and topaz. The collection was released in 2010, when Paloma and Tiffany celebrated 30 years of working together.
Paloma’s Melody Collection
In 2017 the Melody collection was released. Bangles, rings, pendants, and earrings made with bands of gold and silver, are designed to mirror the fluid nature and melodies of life. Black spinel gemstones are incorporated in the designs, which predominantly use white, yellow, and rose gold.
Being a Picasso
Since early on in her career, Paloma has sought to disassociate herself from her father’s work. In a 2013 interview for Nuvo magazine, she commented, “I’ve always tried to separate my work from his work . . . I thought that whatever I do, it really has to be my own world and not be affected by his work. I respect it – I don’t want to piggyback on it”.
Through the years, however, critics and designers claim to have seen styles in Paloma’s work that are reminiscent of Pablo Picasso’s paintings. It’s been said that there have been similarities in their bold use of colour, and in their desire to be revolutionary and innovative.
Paloma Picasso’s Achievements
Paloma, aged 72 at the time of writing, has now contributed almost 50 jewellery collections for Tiffany & Co. Alongside these, she has also achieved many other accolades as a skilled and noted designer.
Paloma Picasso in Immoral Tales
After the death of her father Pablo in 1973, it’s said that Paloma briefly lost all interest in art and design. Instead, she decided to explore a career in film, and played a role in Walerian Borowczyk’s erotic film, Immoral Tales. The career was short-lived, and she did not act again after this film.
Paloma Picasso Perfume
In 1984, Paloma worked with L’Oreal to produce an eponymous fragrance. The perfume was deemed a success, and an accompanying body lotion, powder, soap, and shower gel were also created.
Awards & Acknowledgements
Among Paloma Picasso’s noteworthy commemorations include the following:
- 1983 – Paloma was added as a member to Vanity Fair’s International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame
- 1988 – She was described by The Fashion Group as one of the “women who have made an extraordinary impact on our industry.”
Some of Paloma’s jewellery lives permanently in two museums:
- The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History
- Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History
Other museums have hosted temporary exhibitions, such as The National Museum of Women in Arts, in Washington D.C., in 2011.
Paloma Picasso’s Jewellery Today
Living with her husband, Dr Eric Thevenet, between Switzerland and Morocco, today Paloma continues to design jewellery for Tiffany & Co. While staying true to her signature colourful style, Paloma strives to design new and innovative creations. She’s quoted as saying, “the most rewarding design is the one that is yet to come.”
At The Chelsea Bijouterie, we currently carry several pieces of Paloma Picasso jewellery. Browse our range today.