More is More: The Artistry of Tony Duquette and Hutton Wilkinson

GIA
October 10, 2013
"Pond Scum" Courtesy of a Private Collector and Mona Lee Nesseth. "Super Nova" Courtesy of a Private Collector.
Tony Duquette and Hutton Wilkinson count as two of the most inventive jewelry designers in recent memory.

Duquette first found fame creating costumes and sets for musicals during the Golden Age of Hollywood. He and Wilkinson, his longtime business partner and design collaborator, also designed for theater and dance productions, as well as the homes of their private clients.

Duquette brought that same design sensibility to the jewelry he created for his mother, aunts, wife, and later, private clients. He was famed for using anything that helped him capture the quality he was seeking: what he found in the streets, in the attic, in the desert, in the garden, and in the sea.
"Petal Dance" earrings are made of pink tourmaline (approx. 16 ct.) carved yellow-green tourmaline (approx. 64 ct.), and set in 18K gold. Courtesy of a Private Collector and Mona Lee Nesseth.
He had a life-long fascination with jewelry and bright, shiny things.
Hutton Wilkinson
"Barriera Corallina" is made of coral, cultured pearl, peridot, and 18K gold. Courtesy of a Private Collector.
Wilkinson and Duquette officially became business partners in 1994. Although Duquette passed away in 1999 at the age of 85, Wilkinson continues to create pieces for the Tony Duquette Collection using their favorite materials: malachite, pearls, emerald, and coral.

Wilkinson has since devoted much of his time to the design of unique jeweled creations under the Tony Duquette trademark. His work has been worn by Raquel Welch, Faye Dunaway, Sharon Stone, Liza Minnelli, Ellen Burstyn, Mandy Moore, Drew Barrymore, and Reese Witherspoon, to name a few.

Wilkinson also authored three books about Tony Duquette – his design philosophy, creative process, and jewelry.

Fashion designer John Galliano wrote in the forward to More is More, the second volume written by Wilkinson about Duquette, “Tony Duquette had the eye, lived the dream, created the ultimate setting. He mixed glamour with the glittering social scene like others would hang decorations on a Christmas tree. He applied these baubles of beauty to real life in his designs, and later in his jewelry line, and made everything beautiful.”

Duquette created his early jewelry pieces at the same time he was designing ballroom scenes, fashion, and dream sequences for MGM studios, 20th Century Fox, and Universal Studios. His film work included The Ziegfeld Follies, starring Fred Astaire and Lucille Bremer; Lovely to Look At, with Zsa Zsa Gabor; and To Catch a Thief, with Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. Legendary directors Vincent Minnelli and Alfred Hitchcock sought out the freelance designer for his ability to bring his bold, fantastical creations to their sets.

He won a Tony award for Best Costume for the original Broadway production of Camelot and was the first and only American to be honored with a one-man show at the Louvre in Paris. Another highlight of Duquette’s career was creating a commissioned necklace of citrine, tourmaline, and cultured mabe pearls for the Duchess of Windsor.

"Mariposa" is made of amethyst, rock crystal quartz, kunzite, diamond, enamel, and 18K gold. Courtesy of The Anthony & Elizabeth Duquette Foundation for the Living Arts.

 

"Sunburst Monstrance" votive cross brooch/pendant is made of rhodochrosite, cultured pearl, enamel, and 18K gold. Courtesy of The Anthony & Elizabeth Duquette Foundation for the Living Arts.

Duquette presented her with an 18K gold wreath of vines and flowers and she wore the necklace often, according to Wilkinson. By wearing it to evening events – even though most wore platinum at the time – she started the trend of wearing gold jewelry after five o’clock.

 

"Floral Wreath" is made of citrine, tourmanline, cultured mabe pearl, and 14K gold. Designed for the Duchess of Windsor. Courtesy of The Anthony & Elizabeth Duquette Foundation for the Living Arts.
If it's not fabulous, it's meaningless.
Hutton Wilkinson
 
More is More, an exhibit of Duquette’s and Wilkinson’s masterpieces, is on display at GIA’s Museum from Oct. 10, 2013 through March 2014 at GIA in Carlsbad, CA. If you are planning a visit to Carlsbad, schedule a tour to see the exhibit yourself. Contact guestservices@gia.edu, 800-421-7250 ext 4116, or 760-603-4116 (if outside the U.S. or Canada).

From the Vault to the Rotunda

A unique look into the transformation of a GIA museum exhibit.

More is More


“There is nothing subtle about them. It is amazing to see the unusual gemstone choices they made – and astonishing to see how well these unconventional materials work together.” 
 
- Terri Ottaway, curator of the GIA Museum

GIA Museum

Museum

GIA’s Museum introduces visitors to the vast and vibrant world of gems and jewelry. Exhibits showcase the science and beauty of gems and minerals, along with expertly designed and crafted jewelry.

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Contact the GIA Museum

The GIA Museum is located at:
World Headquarters and The Robert Mouawad Campus
5345 Armada Drive
Carlsbad, CA 92008

To schedule an individual or group tour, please email or call:
+1 800 421 7250, ext. 4116
+1 760 603 4116

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