Hidden Gems

A new book unveils the bejeweled world of designer Fulco di Verdura.


The late Sicilian duke and jewelry designer Fulco di Verdura was not one to follow rules. Driven by a “mad artistry,” as the New York Times once wrote, he mixed precious stones with chunky beads and brought a sense of whimsy to classical motifs, causing a frenzy among fashion doyennes like Diana Vreeland, the Duchess of Windsor, and the Baroness de Rothschild. Now, 75 years since the master jeweler set up shop in New York, the house is mounting “The Power of Style: Verdura at 75” (October 14 through December 23), curated by longtime fans Carolina and Reinaldo Herrera and their daughter Patricia Lansing. Among the 150 or so jewels and objets d’art culled from private collections are a pair of his signature Maltese cross cuffs, originally owned by Coco Chanel, and a diamond and pink topaz winged brooch purchased by Joan Fontaine, who wore it in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1941 film Suspicion.