1900 Suzanne Belperron was born on 26th September in Saint-Claude which is located in the Jura region of France. Her father was a baker and her mother a homemaker.
1921 Suzanne was taken on by Jeanne Boivin as a salesgirl at the age of twenty-one
1924 Married Jean Belperron.
1925 Began making models for Boivin which showed an Egyptian influence. She familiarised herself with Madame Boivin’s techniques, particularly the technique of making pieces by the assemblage and juxtaposition of contrasting materials.
1932 Leaves Maison René Boivin in February because she wanted her name to appear as the firm’s creative director. Jeanne Boivin’s refusal forced Belperron into setting up on her own.
1933 Bernard Herz, a dealer in precious stones, employed Belperron and gave her complete freedom in the creation of her pieces. The jewellery was sold under the name of Maison Herz.
After gaining creative freedom, Belperron showed great innovation and her jewellery was unique. Her favourite materials were translucent rock crystal, smoky quartz, chalcedony and agate. It was common for her to place precious and semi-precious stones alongside each other such as rock crystal and diamond, or blue chalcedony and sapphire. She also helped to bring natural pearls back into fashion and created a new setting style in which a hexagonal web of gold wires held the stones. Fluidity and movement were aspired to by Belperron and she achieved these through motifs and swirling forms.
At this time, designers’ names were rarely publicised. Adverts in women’s magazines illustrated many of Belperron’s pieces, but they were not attributed to her. Instead, the name given was ‘Herz’.
1935 Belperron’s name appeared alongside Herz for the first time in Vogue.
1936 Herz began using labels which read, ‘Jewelry/B. Herz/Mme Belperron/59 rue de Châteaudun, Paris’.
1940s During the Second World War, Bernard Herz was tragically murdered at a concentration camp. Maison Herz was stripped out and sold by the Nazis and their collaborators – a fate suffered by many other Jewish businesses.
1941 Belperron registered her firm at the Chamber of Commerce as a limited liability company with a capital of 700,000 francs.
1946 Jean Herz, Bernard’s son, returned from a P.O.W. camp and took up a position in Suzanne’s company, which from then on was called Herz-Belperron. The company thrived.
1963 Suzanne was made a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur.
1974 Belperron retired.
1983 Belperron died.
1987 A revival of interest in Belperron began following the sale of the Duchess of Windsor’s jewellery. Many of Suzanne’s pieces featured.