This eighteen carat gold and black jade bracelet was designed by Angela Cummings for Tiffany & Company in the 1970's. The hinged, polished gold bangle is inlaid with irregular spots of black jade resembling a leopard skin. The streamlined shape with the sophisticated inlaid jade give this bracelet a timeless elegance.
Born Angela Baeumker in Klagenfurt, Austria, in 1944, this famous designer grew up outside Washington, D.C. then returned to Europe to study painting in Perugia, Italy, at the Accademia di Belle Arti. She then took a further degree as a gemologist, goldsmith and designer at the Staatliche Zeichenakademie in Hanau, West Germany, graduating in 1967.
Upon graduation, she moved to New York and immediately joined Tiffany & Company, where she was hired as an in-house designer, under the tutelage of Donald Claflin. She was just twenty-three. At Tiffany’s she met Bruce Cummings, who worked in the diamond office of Tiffany & Co. in New York City for many years before becoming Vice President of the Company. The couple married in 1970. In 1973, Tiffany's presented Cummings’s first collection under her own name. She soon became known for her innovation, trompe l'œil effects, intricate designs, attention to the surface of the metal, and her concern with the smallest of details. She created many beautiful jewels, predominantly in yellow gold and typically featuring inlaid gem materials such as lapis lazuli, jade and opal, as well as mother-of-pearl, coral and wood. Cummings frequently drew inspiration from nature, in particular the sea, flora and wildlife.
Tiffany & Company
This American jewellery firm was founded more than 175 years ago by Charles Lewis Tiffany and became world-renowned in the early twentieth century when Tiffany’s son, Louis Comfort Tiffany, became its creative director. It was he who truly launched the iconic brand with his stunning art nouveau and arts and crafts designs, often inspired by nature.
The years following the Second World War were not easy for Tiffany’s. Priorities lay elsewhere in this period, and there was little interest in art and jewellery. In 1955 Walter Hoving, one of America’s leading businessmen and at that time the owner of Bonwit Teller—the leading ladies’ fashion store next door to Tiffany’s— purchased a controlling interest in Tiffany & Co. He started by hiring Gene Moor, his ‘wizard of window display’ at Bonwit Teller to revitalize Tiffany’s show windows. And he immediately appointed Van Day Truex as design director who brought in the already renowned Jean Schlumberger in 1956. This jewellery designer began to work exclusively for Tiffany’s and his designs brought Tiffany’s back as a major player in the field of design.
In the same year, Hoving also hired Henry B. Platt. A junior member of the Tiffany family, Platt’s mission was to put Tiffany’s “gold and gold with stones” jewellery department back on the map. Seeking to connect with a wider and younger public, he appointed a series of new, promising young designers like Aldo Cipullo, Ronald McNamer, Don Berg, Sonia Younis, Donald Claflin and, in 1967, Angela Cummings, the designer of this bracelet. That was a very successful strategy. Even today, Angela Cummings' designs are highly sought after.