He created interiors for Doris Duke and jewelry for the Duchess of Windsor.
Sotheby’s inaugurated its first online-only jewelry sale with some of the boldest jewels you can buy. The sale is comprised of 32 one-of-a-kind pieces by the late Tony Duquette, a designer famed for his wide-ranging talents.
Duquette was primarily known for interiors, but his bright, daring style transcended mediums, and he left his imprint on costume design and movie production as well. He started designing jewelry in 1945 for private clients like Elsie de Wolf and the Duchess of Windsor, but the Tony Duquette jewelry company wasn’t founded until 1994, when Duquette and his design partner Hutton Wilkinson received an invitation from Bergdorf Goodman to create a collection of jewels for the store. The pieces currently up for auction all date from that period.
Duquette’s designs have an unmistakable look. “There are certain materials and motifs that recur in all his work. Malachite and coral appear almost everywhere, as do the starburst, sunburst and Maltese Cross. And of course big, colorful stones are a must,” says Frank Everett, the sales director of Sotheby’s jewelry department.
Each piece made by Duquette’s company continues to use stones that were collected by the designer throughout his lifetime, and Wilkinson designs the jewelry with Duquette’s signatures in mind and is inspired by the bold costume and set designs that Duquette created for Hollywood films during the mid-20th century.
The bright pieces were ideal for Sotheby’s first online-only jewelry sale. “Tony Duquette jewelry is big, bold, and colorful, perfect for online viewing and perfect for the summer,” Everett says. And you can be sure that each piece in the sale gets the Duquette/Wilkinson seal of approval. As Wilkinson once remarked, “If it’s not fabulous, it’s meaningless!”