Revival Jewels

En Tremblant: A Rare Craft

Brenda KangComment

An old French term, “en tremblant” in jewellery industry lexicon refers to the “trembling” feature of a piece of jewel, particularly brooches. Invented in the 18th century in the ateliers of Paris, the craft involves mounting parts of a diamond jewellery creation on wire-coiled springs to create realistic movement and height, resulting in more volume, sparkle and liveliness. The en tremblant technique was especially popular for floral-motif jewels, which featured delicately quivering flowerheads, as well as bejewelled butterfly or dragonfly wings.

A Georgian-Era En Tremblant Diamond Flower Brooch

A Georgian-Era En Tremblant Diamond Flower Brooch

Deeply inspired by the beauty and ingenuity of antique French en tremblant designs, Bulgari started to produce a breathtaking series of “tremblant brooches” in the 1950s and 1960s. In fact, the Italian jeweller was widely considered to have perfected the technique. Its repertoire of floral compositions spanned bouquets, baskets and sprays of diamonds and other precious gems.

Because that period was Hollywood’s Golden Age and defined by post-war prosperity, the brooches sold really well and were a favourite of celebrities, including Ingrid Bergman and Princess Soraya of Iran, who sometimes wore them as hair ornaments. Famous examples of the Bulgari tremblant brooch were the gorgeous diamond and platinum ones given to Elizabeth Taylor in the early ’60s by her then-husband Eddie Fisher.

Scroll down to see them, more beautiful pieces sold by Christie’s, and a Bulgari all-diamond tremblant brooch available here at Revival Jewels.

Ingrid Bergman on the set of The Visit in 1964, wearing a Bulgari floral spray brooch in her hair

Ingrid Bergman on the set of The Visit in 1964, wearing a Bulgari floral spray brooch in her hair

Princess Soraya of Iran, on the set of the film I Tre Volti in 1964, also wearing a Bulgari tremblant brooch in her hair

Princess Soraya of Iran, on the set of the film I Tre Volti in 1964, also wearing a Bulgari tremblant brooch in her hair

Presented to Elizabeth Taylor on her 30th birthday by then-husband Eddie Fisher, this Bulgari tremblant brooch features three diamond flower blossoms set with a 3.38-carat vivid fancy yellow diamond and two smaller brown diamonds. Sold at an Christie’s auction, the estimated price range for it was USD300,000­–500,000 but it ultimately fetched USD1,142,500

Presented to Elizabeth Taylor on her 30th birthday by then-husband Eddie Fisher, this Bulgari tremblant brooch features three diamond flower blossoms set with a 3.38-carat vivid fancy yellow diamond and two smaller brown diamonds. Sold at an Christie’s auction, the estimated price range for it was USD300,000­–500,000 but it ultimately fetched USD1,142,500

Another gift from Eddie Fisher to Elizabeth Taylor, this Bulgari diamond and emerald brooch was made in 1960. Mounted in platinum, this piece was regularly worn by the actress as a brooch and hair accessory

Another gift from Eddie Fisher to Elizabeth Taylor, this Bulgari diamond and emerald brooch was made in 1960. Mounted in platinum, this piece was regularly worn by the actress as a brooch and hair accessory

A late-Victorian diamond and ruby butterfly brooch, with en tremblant wings that flutter with movement. It was estimated to sell for between £6,000-£8,000 (USD15,710) at a Christie’s London auction in 2014, but managed to snare £10,000

A late-Victorian diamond and ruby butterfly brooch, with en tremblant wings that flutter with movement. It was estimated to sell for between £6,000-£8,000 (USD15,710) at a Christie’s London auction in 2014, but managed to snare £10,000

Another of Bulgari’s famous tremblant brooches, this floral spray one was made in the late 1950s and features five vari-cut diamond flowerheads set en tremblant, with baguette-cut diamond branches enhanced by marquise and pear-shaped diamond accents, all mounted in platinum. It fetched HK$2,900,000 (USD373,826) at a Christie’s Hongkong auction in 2010, and the price was near the top end of the HK$2,000,000-3,000,000 estimate

Another of Bulgari’s famous tremblant brooches, this floral spray one was made in the late 1950s and features five vari-cut diamond flowerheads set en tremblant, with baguette-cut diamond branches enhanced by marquise and pear-shaped diamond accents, all mounted in platinum. It fetched HK$2,900,000 (USD373,826) at a Christie’s Hongkong auction in 2010, and the price was near the top end of the HK$2,000,000-3,000,000 estimate

A late 19th century diamond brooch and pin with two diamond cluster flower-heads set en tremblant, mounted in silver and gold, circa 1890. Up for auction at Christie’s this April, it features old circular-, rose-, and single-cut diamonds

A late 19th century diamond brooch and pin with two diamond cluster flower-heads set en tremblant, mounted in silver and gold, circa 1890. Up for auction at Christie’s this April, it features old circular-, rose-, and single-cut diamonds

Above is a Bulgari floral spray-motif diamond tremblant brooch, circa 1950s, available exclusively at Revival Jewels. Mounted in 18k white gold, the brooch features 4 flowerheads set “en tremblant” with pear-, round- and oval-cut diamonds for a total diamond weight of approximately 17-20 carats. It measures 7cm in length, and comes in its original case.