Born just outside Paris in 1927 to a French mother and Vietnamese father, Jean Dinh Van is regarded as a revolutionary in the history of 20th Century jewelry design. After studying drawing at the École des Beaux-Arts he went to work for Cartier where he spent many years at the workshop bench, first training and eventually creating jewelry for high profile clients such as the Duchess of Windsor. However, the spirit of freedom that permeated the 1960s was calling to him and he began to feel increasingly frustrated by what he perceived as the overly formal constraints placed upon jewelry design. He felt jewelry was becoming a ‘prisoner of tradition’ and he dreamt of designing bold, sleek pieces that would reflect what he saw happening in other areas of contemporary design, such as clothing, art, and furniture. He wanted to redefine luxury jewelry to mean pieces that were simple and bold, pieces that women could wear all day every day, not just for special occasions. Today, pieces that carry both the Cartier and Dinh Van signatures are particularly collectible.