5 Birds That Became Iconic Jewellery of Luxury Brands

Do you remember actress Uma Thurman’s antique Cartier bird brooch that was a head-turner at this year’s major fashion moment, the Met Gala? The diamond shoulder brooch in the shape of a peacock was crafted by Cartier way back in 1948. The platinum and white gold brooch, embellished with 991 baguettes, brilliant and fancy-cut diamonds, is a unique post-war piece of high jewellery. This gorgeous piece stole our hearts and inspired us to look for iconic bird jewels that have been created by renowned jewellery houses in the last two centuries. Here is the outline of five of our favourite (and possibly most recognised) diamond, gem-encrusted bird motif pieces.

Inspired by Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake ballet, wherein the swan embodies grace and beauty, Maison Boucheron created bejewelled swans in a form of ring, earrings, pendant, cuff bracelet and even a showstopper jewellery watch. Cypris, the swan, owes its name to the goddess of love, pleasure and beauty – Aphrodite, who flew around on a white swan (Cypris being the Cyprian name of Aphrodite). The swans, known to be monogamous, embody the message of eternal love and have often found their way into stylishly articulated jewels. Boucheron’s Cypris swan jewels capture the movements of the bird with utmost perfection, as engraved layers of sumptuous plumage come together to create a jewel of great beauty.


Since the 1940s Cartier has populated its sparkling universe with animal figures and plumed creations of fireflies, butterflies, birds of paradise and kingfishers. Cartier’s famous Flamingo Brooch, commissioned by the Duke of Windsor in 1940, soon landed in the jewellery box of Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor. Striking a pose, the elegant platinum and yellow gold flamingo is embellished with brilliant-cut diamonds, calibré-cut emeralds, sapphires and rubies: the stones were reused from other pieces owned by the Duchess. The beak of the bird is set with a cabochon citrine and sapphire, while its eyes feature a similarly cut sapphire, and the head, neck, body and hinged legs of the bird are accented with paved circular, brilliant and single-cut diamonds. The Flamingo Brooch was eventually sold at a Sotheby’s auction in 2010 for £1,721,250 against an estimate of £1.5m.


Acclaimed jewellery designer Jean Schlumberger’s exciting creations for Tiffany&Co are delightfully stunning. The Bird On The Rock brooch is one of the most famous jewels that Schlumberger created for the American jeweller, and was initially designed as the mounting for the famed yellow 128.54 cts Tiffany Diamond that had been in the jeweller’s collection since the nineteenth century. Inspired by nature, and fantastic birds, Schlumberger used breath-taking gemstones to design his masterpieces. The ravishingly whimsical brooch that features variations of a dainty bird perched atop a sumptuous gemstone has been re-created with different stones – cushion-shaped kunzite, emerald-cut aquamarine and green tourmaline. Set in 18k yellow gold and platinum, the Bird On The Rock brooches evoke visions of timeless glamour.


The mesmerising Phoenix in flight, carrying a 96.62 cts fancy vivid yellow diamond briolette, is one of Van Cleef & Arpels’ iconic designs. A special commission, this unique gem once belonged to Polish-born opera, concert singer and socialite Ganna Walska, who wore it as a pendant. The diamond surfaced at a Sotheby’s auction in 1971, and a year later, found its way into the beak of a yellow gold emerald and sapphire Phoenix designed by Van Cleef & Arpels. Adhering to the Maison’s tradition of eye-catching transformable designs, the Walska Briolette Diamond Brooch can be worn as a pair of winged ear clips or a brooch, while the yellow diamond briolette can be detached and worn as a pendant. The Walska Briolette Diamond brooch was sold at Sotheby’sMagnificent Jewels auction in November 2013 and achieved a world record price of US$10.5 million for a Van Cleef&Arpels jewel.

Van Cleef & Arpels

The jewellery house Graff Diamonds is famous for its spectacular jewellery and brilliant diamonds. One such marvellous design is a pink, white, yellow and blue diamond Peacock Brooch that was inspired by the legend of a peacock and its symbolism as a bird that brings forth good luck. The exquisite setting, the fire of the 1,305 diamonds totalling 120.81 cts – bring the extraordinary peacock to life. Pear and round shaped diamonds, paved along the majestic peacock’s body as well as the 20.02 cts blue diamond featured in the very centre of the brooch, make it a covetable jewel. The centre stone is detachable and can be worn separately for a more understated look. The piece is valued at $100 million and was first presented to the public in 2013 during the TEFAF fair in Maastrich.

Graff Diamonds

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