“Cartier, Jeweller to Kings, King of Jewellers”

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Cartier, Jeweller to Kings, King of Jewellers

 

This quote from the Prince of Wales, the future Edward VII, illustrates the bonds that have linked Cartier to the royal courts since the early 20th century. The boutique in Rue de la Paix, opened in 1899, truly attracts celebrities, members of Royal Families and of the most illustrious aristocrat families like a shining magnet. With a reputation of excellency built partly thanks to these privileged relationships, in thirty-five years Cartier receives at least eighteen patent letters, from the one conferred by King Edward VII in 1904, to the one attributed to King Zog I of Albany in 1939.

In those same years, Kings and Princesses all over the world commissioned their platinum and diamond circlets from Cartier. Despite a certain loss in power, they still remain as great and outstanding symbols. In this period, the style of Cartier combines the classicism of shapes and lines with the modernity of the crafting techniques (including the usage of platinum, recognised and appreciated for its suppleness) and it is thus able to answer positively to these Kings and Queens who are looking for continuous affirmation of both their roles and personalities, in a world which begins to witness important shifts in the balance of power, from both a political and an economical point of view.

The epitome of aristocracy, the tiara (or diadem), in the guirlande style, becomes then a recognisable symbol in a world full of references and recalls to the XVIIIth century. It is nonetheless in this same period, that the Maison begins to evolve and move from the Neo-Louis XVI style to the more modern and vanguardist Art Deco movement.

The tiaras which follow, and which were also on display in all their splendour during Cartier’s exhibition “Cartier: le style et l’histoire”, are a clear demonstration of powerful choice, of inspiration, of style and personality affirmation through time.

Before glancing through a fascinating “tiara timeline”, here is for you a beautiful video, on Cartier web site, showing you the deep ties between the Maison and the most powerful dynasties.

 

1902: This hair ornament in platinum and millegrain-set old- and rose-cut diamonds was sold to Mrs William Field in 1902
1902: This hair ornament in platinum and millegrain-set old- and rose-cut diamonds was sold to Mrs William Field in 1902.

 

1907: For her marriage to Prince George of Greece and Denmark in 1907, Princess Marie Bonaparte ordered this tiara from Cartier, composed of olive leaves in diamonds and emeralds.
1907: For her marriage to Prince George of Greece and Denmark in 1907, Princess Marie Bonaparte ordered this tiara from Cartier, composed of olive leaves in diamonds and emeralds.

 

1910: This Scroll Tiara in platinum, composed of one cushion-shaped diamond and round old-cut diamonds, millegrain setting, was sold to Elizabeth, Queen of the Belgians in 1912.
1910: This Scroll Tiara in platinum, composed of one cushion-shaped diamond and round old-cut diamonds, millegrain setting, was sold to Elizabeth, Queen of the Belgians in 1912.

 

1914: Created by Cartier Paris in 1914, this bold, avant-garde piece is a magnificent example of the Art Deco style. 
Inspired by the shape of the Russin kokoshnik tiaras, this platinum piece is set with old-cut round diamonds, 15 natural pearls, calibrated and fancy-shaped onyx and black enamel.
1914: Created by Cartier Paris in 1914, this bold, avant-garde piece is a magnificent example of the Art Deco style. 
Inspired by the shape of the Russin kokoshnik tiaras, this platinum piece is set with old-cut round diamonds, 15 natural pearls, calibrated and fancy-shaped onyx and black enamel.

 

1923: Composed of cushion-cut diamonds and round old-cut diamonds. Mounted on platinum, this bandeau can be disassembled to form two bracelets.
1923: Composed of cushion-cut diamonds and round old-cut diamonds. Mounted on platinum, this bandeau can be disassembled to form two bracelets.

 

1934: The Begum Aga Khan, the third wife of Mohamed Shah Aga Khan III, ordered an Egyptian-inspired tiara from Cartier London in 1934. 
In platinum and old- and baguette-cut round diamonds, it is composed of two parts. The upper part forms a halo of stylized lotus blossoms while the lower part, with its zigzag motifs, may be detached to form a bandeau.
1934: The Begum Aga Khan, the third wife of Mohamed Shah Aga Khan III, ordered an Egyptian-inspired tiara from Cartier London in 1934. 
In platinum and old- and baguette-cut round diamonds, it is composed of two parts. The upper part forms a halo of stylized lotus blossoms while the lower part, with its zigzag motifs, may be detached to form a bandeau.

 

1937: Produced by Cartier London in 1937, this tiara is composed of yellow gold, platinum, old- and baguette-cut round diamonds, one large emerald-cut octagonal citrine of 62.35 carats as well as calibrated baguette-cut citrines and one hexagonal citrine. The central motif can be detached from the tiara and worn as a brooch, pointing downward.
1937: Produced by Cartier London in 1937, this tiara is composed of yellow gold, platinum, old- and baguette-cut round diamonds, one large emerald-cut octagonal citrine of 62.35 carats as well as calibrated baguette-cut citrines and one hexagonal citrine.
The central motif can be detached from the tiara and worn as a brooch, pointing downward.

 

To be continued…

 

Material courtesy of Rouge Cartier N.32; Cartier web site; “Cartier Joaillier des Rois” – album de l’exposition, par Laure Dalon, Conservateur du patrimoine – Réunion des Musées Nationaux, Grand Palais.

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