Schlumberger was born in then-German Mulhouse, France to a well-to-do family involved in textile manufacturing. His father was Paul Albert Edouard Schlumberger (1877-1952) and his mother was Elisabeth Schoen (1884-1942). He had four siblings; Daniel Schlumberger (1904-1972), Pascal Alfred (1911-1986), Isabelle Françoise Elisabeth and Jacqueline. He sketched constantly during his youth, but his parents tried to discourage his artistic interest by refusing to allow him to undertake formal training.
Schlumberger began his career creating buttons for Elsa Schiaparelli in the 1930s. Schiaparelli later commissioned him to design costume jewelry for her firm. During World War II, Schlumberger was in the French Army and survived the Battle of Dunkirk. He also served under General Charles de Gaulle in England and the Middle East with the Free French Forces.
After the war, Schlumberger came to New York and began to design clothing for Chez Ninon. In 1946, he opened a jewelry salon with his business partner Nicolas Bongard (1908–2000).