Fly Fruit: Verdura’s Pomegranate Jewel

The late heiress/horticulturist Bunny Mellon cultivated not only breathtaking gardens—including the White House Rose Garden—but also a stunning collection of objets d’art that paid homage to the natural world. This palm-size ­Verdura-designed pomegranate, featuring gems as stand-ins for its seeds, sold for $221,000, more than 20 times its estimate, at a recent Sotheby’s sale of her jewels. “Verdura’s jewels should be called invenzioni, the term used during the ­Italian Renaissance for uniquely creative designs,” says art historian Patricia Corbett (Verdura: The Life and Work of a Master Jeweler). And like the juicy autumnal fruit, it’s what’s inside a Verdura jewel that counts. “What makes each piece truly special is the hidden message—of love, friendship, even faith,” Corbett says. “That makes it an instant heirloom.”