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.
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.