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A Former Editor’s Collection of Animal-Themed Jewellery

By Renée Batchelor

 
Bejewelled gold parrot brooch

“A friend once commented that she would hug me but she was afraid my parrot brooch might cause her harm. I thought that was the funniest thing, and also quite telling about the appeal of Schlumberger pieces — they are definitely eye-catching but not always in a comfortably tactile way.”

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Gold Dolphin Brooch

“The Dolphin is extravagantly barbed, with four forked tongues, three-dimensional scales. and eight pointed fins. I believe there are only a handful of these in the world. It could be because they are not easy to create. Each stone is slightly different to fit the undulating scales, which gives the pieces real movement. I am eternally grateful to Brenda who introduced me to it. It is by far the most dramatic piece of jewellery that I've come across.”

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Bird on dark green tourmaline stone brooch

“This is the second Bird on a Rock brooch I have bought. The first one was a citrine version that was lost in the snow in St Moritz. Brenda helped me get my second bird — this time on a dark green tourmaline, which to me looks like a giant emerald. It is quite outstanding when worn on a collar or a necklace.”

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Gold and sapphire serpent brooch

"Another favourite of the piece is an unsigned Bulgari-look serpent bracelet. You have to look closely to see the ombre shades on the scales. It is so pretty when it's on your wrist."

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Apollo earrings

“I got these Apollo earrings from the Tiffany boutique. It is another spiky piece with its spider leg claws. No two sets are the same. I have seen other sets of Apollo earrings in Tiffany stores and they look slightly different: either the claws are more clasped to the centre, or are more spread apart.”

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Gold feathered wing earrings

“These Wing earrings are exceptional because they look so modern and yet were designed in the 1950s. They look like they are crawling up your ear, which is such a 21st century aesthetic. Jean Schlumberger was truly ahead of his time.”

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Foo Mei Zee is a former magazine editor who currently works at the head of corporate communications at CellResearch Corporation, a biotech business that employs stem cell technology in its skincare line, Calecim Professional. She began collecting animal-themed jewellery both because she loves animals and because she enjoys pieces that are “three-dimensional, tactile and lively.”

Her collection includes several pieces from the iconic French jewellery designer Jean Schlumberger, who is best known for his designs with Tiffany and Co. “The appeal of Schlumberger is that they are beautifully-made, three-dimensional and exquisite from any direction, and yet they are not pieces that you ever feel you want to get cosy with,” says Foo. She acquired most of her pieces directly from the jewellery brands or through Brenda Kang, the founder of Revival Vintage Jewels & Objects.

Illustrations by Kimberley Batchelor