By Ashley Davis
Ashley.Davis@nationaljeweler.com
Sapphire crystal, diamond, silver, and platinum "wings" pin, 2006 © Taffin - photograph by Philippe de Givenchy for Taffin
Sapphire crystal, diamond, silver, and platinum "wings" pin, 2006 © Taffin - photograph by Philippe de Givenchy for Taffin

New York--While one might assume that coming from a family as artistically lauded as the Givenchys would have its benefits, “there exists an unsaid rule that forbids the transfer of talent and fame,” writes Stephanie LaCava in Taffin, The Jewelry of James de Givenchy, out this week from Rizzoli.
20161026 Taffin-INSERTThis diamond, rose gold and platinum necklace, designed in 2016, appears on the cover of Taffin, The Jewelry of James de Givenchy. © Taffin - photograph by SquareMoose for Taffin

LaCava’s assertion serves to highlight just how spectacular Taffin’s success has proven over his 20-year career in fine jewelry. His is a quiet success; he’s earned universal, industry-wide respect while running a business that caters to a private clientele via one-of-a-kind pieces.

Taffin is the nephew of Hubert de Givenchy, the founder of the fashion house and contributor of one of the forwards for Taffin.

Taffin studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York before landing a job at Christie’s, where he hoped to work in the furniture division. Instead, he was placed in the jewelry department.

Six years later, he left Christie’s to work at Verdura before launching his own designs in 1996, inspired by the works of legends like Suzanne Belperron and JAR.

Taffin gathers more than 300 images of some of the jeweler’s greatest works produced in the past 20 years, accompanied by drawings, images of the designer’s atelier, and collages of inspirational images that lend a sort of visual pattern to the jewels, extending a piece’s narrative.

A pair of ceramic and inverted gemstone earrings sit opposite an image of a hedgehog, which serves to heighten the prickly texture of the jewelry. On another page, a collar that incorporates diamonds with strings becomes provocative placed next to a close-up photograph of a woman’s form in a corset.



This embrace of non-traditional materials, such as ceramic, wood, and even recycled metal from AK-47s, coupled with impressive gemstones is one of Taffin’s signatures, as is his embrace of color. His vividly hued ceramic bands, only created within the last year, have also developed into a Taffin trademark.


Ultimately, Taffin is an important career milestone, but far from a retrospective. The artist’s highly original imagination and quiet work ethic can be counted on to conjure up many more masterful works of jewelry.

Taffin, The Jewelry of James de Givenchy is written by the jeweler and features words by Stephanie LaCava and forewords by Tobias Meyer, Hamilton South and Hubert de Givenchy. For more information, visit Rizzoliusa.com.


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