With a fan base that includes fashion arbiters (Diana Vreeland, Babe Paley and Coco Chanel), royalty (Aga Khan and Princess Diana) and stars (Sarah Jessica Parker, Greta Garbo, Halle Berry), Verdura, the Italian jeweller, has a very "niche" appeal - those with strictly superb taste and the bank account to match.
Yesterday in London, Nico Landrigan, Verdura's VP, brought over from New York seventy of the jeweller's most treasured archived pieces to the Obsidian Gallery in a "part exhibit, part sale", to celebrate the company's 70th anniversary (the exhibit opens to the public this October). Given what was on display, the security should have been as tight as it was down the street as the Obama's and Sarkozy's of the world assembled for the the G20. For the rare buyers (anyone got £50,000 handy?), jaw dropping pieces are available.
For fashion historians and junkies, not only were the jewels exhibited, but also the original, handwritten ledger books from the 40's, including four items purchased at around $2500 (a grandly sum then) by Mrs. Henry Fonda. Vanity Fair's Amy Fine Collins once said of the Italian Duke, whose muse was Babe Paley and lover Vogue editor Nicky De Gunzberg: "He is the century's best jeweller... his designs are not for insecure people and does not appeal to the herd instinct. Women who wear Verdura don't want to look like every other person wearing their Van Cleef diamond flower pin, their Chanel suit and their Prada bag." Nuff said.