Claudine Seroussi

PhD student

Thesis: Continuity and disruption: The French jeweller 1920-1929

Supervisor: Dr Rebecca Arnold

Advisor: Dr Robin Schuldenfrei

Inaugural Karthigesu Scholar

My research investigates French jewellers between 1920-29: their voice, influences and perspectives, explores how they wrestled with ways to define and legitimise jewellery as an expression of style, an object of high culture, a luxury good and the tensions those identities created.  Through charting their path to the 1929 ‘Les Arts de la bijouterie, de la joaillerie et l’orfèvrerie’ exhibition at the Musée Galliera in Paris, I will investigate the driving forces behind this evolution and how it manifested itself through the written word, imagery, collaboration, and exhibitions.  By contextualising it in relation to design, decorative arts, fashion, and the demands of a creative business, this thesis challenges existing perceptions of the study of interwar jewellery to establish an interdisciplinary approach to the field.

Paris in the 1920s, for jewellery, was a hotbed of ambition, artistry and innovation where diverse artistic and technological influences converged.  Moreover, many of the innovative jewellers that rose to prominence in the 1920s were scions of dynasties and part of a multi-generational family business, which fostered a milieu that enabled the younger generation to embrace the creative and intellectually fertile 1920s. My research presents an alternative approach to the study of French jewellers, their métier and the industry’s unique creative and cultural dynamics during this period. Moreover, how it was not simply grounded in the artistic, cultural and societal changes of post-WWI but evolved from the discourse on jewellery and decorative arts that had found traction during the Second Empire.

Research Interests

  • Jewellery history
  • Design history
  • Dress history
  • XXth century decorative arts
  • Intersection of decorative arts and fine art
  • Workshops and production


2020-Present: Courtauld Institute of Art, London
PhD Candidate, History of Art

2010-2011: The University of Manchester/Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London
MA, Art Business

2000-2001: SOAS, London
MSc, Middle Eastern International Politics

1994-1997: University College London
BA, History of Art and Medieval Archaeology

Lectures & Publications

‘Addressing Images: Fashion, Taste and the Jeweller’s Sentiment’, The Courtauld Institute of Art Research Forum, October 2021