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William De Lillo


William De Lillo (1928 – 2011) When William De Lillo teamed up with Robert F. Clark to establish the House of William de Lillo, Ltd., in 1967, both men had already had notable careers in the jewelry industry. Together they created and designed incredibly detailed statement jewelry usually intended exclusively for wealthy private clients that included the Duchess of Windsor and Elizabeth Taylor.

A Belgian immigrant, De Lillo had worked for both Tiffany & Co. and Harry Winston in each one’s fine jewelry space, according to Adornment Magazine. Clark was, for a time in the 1960s, chief designer for the Miriam Haskell Company as that company’s production wound down.

Though only in business for nine, short years, De Lillo and Clark’s creations quickly caught on. The costume jewelry they produced included earrings, necklaces, pendants, and rings that incorporated fine components including Swarovski rhinestones and quality crystal beads. These are considered very innovative and of high quality.

A spectacular example of De Lillo design work for which both men can claim credit is the Red Flower Necklace, a fine prototype of their collar necklace. It features gilt metal links with art glass and authentic angel skin coral centers and a hidden push closure.

Another of their necklaces is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This piece, whose design is again credited to both, is a medium: gilt metal, turquoise acrylic, with clear glass stones that measures 29 1/4 inches (74.3 cm) in length and was a gift from the two men to the museum in 1989.

De Lillo and Clark also achieved some success and were responsible for trends in men’s jewelry. When they closed their business and ended their American design work in 1976, the two designers moved to Paris and worked freelance selling their services to Schiaparelli, Nina Ricci, Yves Saint Laurent, Norman Norell, and Chanel among others.

Pieces bearing the ‘Wm de Lillo’ or ‘deLillo’ mark are desirable and sought after by today’s collectors. William De Lillo passed away in 2011 at his home in Clearwater, Florida.

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