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William Ruser
William Ruser

The Beverly Hills jeweller William Ruser, best known for 1950s and 1960s jewellery featuring freshwater pearls, got his start in the industry by working for Trabert and Hoeffer-Mauboussin in Atlantic City. While working there, he bought up several boxes of American freshwater pearls, also known as Mississippi freshwater pearls, from a button maker in Mississippi. These boxes contained interesting textured and baroque style pearls. Even though freshwater pearls were relatively unpopular at the time, Ruser helped to change this in the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s.
In 1947, he and his wife opened a boutique on Rodeo drive. Though he quickly became sought after for his wonderful sculptural pieces featuring pavé-set diamonds and gemstones, he also crafted incredible pieces using those American freshwater pearls. In the vanguard, along with Verdura and Seaman Schepps, much of his work featuring these pearls was inspired by nature and takes the form of various animals, most notably birds. Some of the most spectacular of Ruser's work is his flawless floral motifs. He would handpick coloured, elongated freshwater pearls and layer them to form luscious, blossoming flowers of delicate hue and opalescent sheen.
He was a much sought after jeweller with the Hollywood set and his pieces were worn by numerous starlets on and off-screen. He closed up shop in 1969, whereupon the property was bought by Van Cleef and Arpels.
   
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