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Ruby Lips with Teeth Like Pearls: Dali’s Fantasy Jewelry


“Ruby Lips with Teeth Like Pearls” brooch by Salvador Dali (1904-1989), 18K gold with 6cts of rubies, American, circa 1980. Designed by Salvador Dali, fabricated by Henry Katson. 1-7/8″ length x 1- 1/8″ wide. Leah Gordon Gallery, The Manhattan Art & Antiques Center

Since it’s #FantasyFriday, we’ll pose a question: have you ever wondered what Marilyn Monroe’s lips felt like? Salvador Dali’s brooch “Ruby Lips with Teeth Like Pearls” is the closest any of us will come to finding out. Modeled after the lips of the sensuous star, Dali mused “Poets of the ages, of all lands, write of ruby lips and teeth like pearls. It remained for Dali to translate this poetic cliché into a true surrealistic object.” Humble, Dali was not. Happily for us, his outsized personality was matched by striking vision. Between 1940 and 1970, the iconic surrealist painter created 39 truly original jewelry designs that blur the line between art and spectacle, as Dali often did. The “Ruby Lips” brooch from The Manhattan Art & Antique Center’s Leah Gordon Gallery featured here is the signature piece of his jewelry collection, and is one of only ten ever produced.

The voluptuous lips, formed of pure, cultured pearls and numerous blood-red rubies, are curved slightly upward, halfway between a pout and a smile, a look Marilyn Monroe often wore on her face. Translated to fantasy jewelry, it’s almost grotesque in its extravagance, yet you can’t seem to look away…which is as Dali would have wanted. He once said of his jewelry “Without an audience, without the presence of spectators, these jewels would not achieve the function for which they were created. The viewer is thus the final artist. His look, heart and mind with greater or lesser ability to understand the creator’s intention, imbue the jewels with life.” For more information about this brooch contact Leah Gordon, Gallery #18 at The Manhattan Art & Antiques Center/212.872.1422/


Marilyn Monroe wearing her iconic red lip color. Source:


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