Tony Duquette – Papa Peridot

tony duquetteWhenever I think about this month’s birthstone, peridot, I always think of Tony Duquette. He really was the first to have used this unique stone so frequently often pairing it with other unlikely stars like coral, fluorite, black pearls, sphene and amethyst; bringing semi-precious stones into the limelight. Using these materials may seem common place today, but during his time, and for a high society tastemaker like Duquette, it was bold.

He was well known for his eclectic style and sense of drama which he infused into all aspects of his work including his sprawling home named Dawnridge.


[Duquette grew up in Los Angeles, and received scholarships to both the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, and the Yale School of the Theatre.  In the early 1940s, he met Lady Elsie de Wolfe Mendle, an famous socialite and interior designer, who became his patron.  With her backing, he became one of the leading designers in Los Angeles, creating costumes and sets for Fred Astaire musicals with Vincente Minnelli at MGM. He also designed sets for operas and ballets, and created interiors for the rich and famous, including Mary Pickford, Elizabeth Arden and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.]

In this post, I’m featuring only pieces with peridot in them in honor of the month of August, but Duquette used many more unexpected combinations of semi-precious stones in his designs throughout his career.

Yesterday, I posted about Kelly Wearstler and I think Tony Duquette must have been a huge influence on her as I can see many similarities in their use of certain materials, objects, and colors.

Bonham’s hosted an auction of his jewels in October, 2012 entitled, Tony Duquette: Jewels of Enchantment in which some of his most breathtaking pieces were up for sale.

Ok, so maybe these pieces are a little out of reach right now, but you can still see Tony Duquette in all his glory in two beautifully photographed coffee table books his business partner of 30 years, Hutton Wilkinson, published after his passing in 1999. Published in 2007, these gorgeous books were sold-out even before they hit bookstores on pre-orders.

(images via Tony Duquette, Bonham’s, Vogue Italia)


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