I have coveted this brooch ever since I first knew of its existence. So, when it came up for sale as part of Doris Duke’s jewels auctioned off to benefit her charitable foundation in June, 2004, I seized the opportunity.
Italian jewelry designer, Fulco di Verdura loved flea markets. One of his finds, an antique folio of lithographs of Native Americans, inspired some of his work during the ‘50s. It was during this time that he created this piece for Doris Duke, choosing, it is said, one of the three Native American chiefs who’d inspired James Earle Fraser in his design of the buffalo nickel as his model.
Owning this piece has taught me something. Inspiration is an energy we pass one to the next. Mr. Fraser was inspired by a trio of proud warrior chiefs. Verdura was inspired by a collection of beautiful prints, and by the work of Mr. Fraser.
And I find myself inspired by Verdura, a passionate designer from Palermo, Italy, who created this iconic and quintessentially American piece.