Gorgeous Cartier turtle design


As I just posted on Instagram, just been flicking through an old Christies Jewels catalogue and came across this gorgeous design for a diamond and gold turtle brooch, with pavé-set diamond sliding legs and head and an engraved gold shell.

It’s from Cartier London in the 1950s, which was when my grandfather, Jean-Jacques Cartier, would have been at the helm.

I knew he always loved transforming animals into jewellery but had never seen this little turtle before – so sweet! Has anyone come across anything similar?

I love all the old designs, I know they were just a step along the process to the finished item of jewellery but I see them as miniature works of art in themselves.

Photos never really do them justice, in the flesh – or rather on the paper – the colours literally jump off the page.

The brooch itself was listed for $3500-$4500 in 1992, not sure what it sold for in the end but I imagine it would be worth rather more today..

#vintagebrooch #animaljewelry #broochlover #cartieranimals #cartierbrooch #diamondbrooch #cartierjewellery #vintagecartier #cartiergold #cartierlondon #cartiervintage #cartierdesign #jeanjacquescartier

A marriage arranged…

Decisions, decisions.. ‘A marriage has been arranged’ and now comes the fun part…a trip to Cartier to choose the ring!

This 1937 advertisement from Cartier London proudly talks about the British craftsmen who make the jewellery. It even invites the clients to view the process.

My great-grandfather, Jacques Cartier, started a workshop (English Artworks) above the New Bond Street store in the 1920s so his London branch could design and make their own jewels rather than relying on the Paris workshop (which was run by his elder brother, Louis).

Anyone else love the super chic couple in this image? Right down to her little handbag and his rather dapper cane. You had to look the part to enter the store back then – no jeans and trainers (or their equivalent)..

Just check out that intimidating doorman poised to either open the doors or refuse entry if required…

#cartierring #cartierrings #vintagecartier #cartierJewelry #cartierlondon #highjewellery #1930sfashion #cartierlove #cartierjewellery #familyhistory

Who doesn’t love a Cartier carved emerald?

Who doesn’t love a carved emerald? I share my great-grandfather, Jacques Cartier’s, passion for them – on his trips to India during the 1920s and 30s, they were always on his wish list.

He even employed gem dealers all over the country (like Imre Schwaiger, a tall Hungarian dealer who was Delhi-based & had great connections with many of the Indian palaces) to let him know whenever they found a particularly beautiful one.

The highest quality emeralds originated from Colombia of course, but like most of the best gem stones in the world, they tended to cross the seas and end up in the gem markets of India where they would be traded between dealers. Some would be engraved (no easy task to do without breaking them as they are so much softer than diamonds), often with floral or leaf motifs, and as an artist himself, it was these intricately carved gemstones that Jacques really loved. After all, they were miniature works of art.

So the final Cartier creation would be a work of art within a work of art – and totally unique. They played perfectly into Cartier’s art deco style too – the hexagonal shape of the naturally occurring crystal was often retained in the finished cut stone. So even if the carved emerald was antique (Jacques’ favourite), the end piece had a modern geometric edge.

Thanks @s_j_phillips for showing me this gorgeous example!

#emeralds #carvedemerald #cartierartdeco #indianjewellery #brooch #cartier #artdecojewelry #jacquescartier #colombianemerald #gemdealer #familyhistory #jewelryhistory

Pierre Cartier’s pearl trade of the century

Fun to open a letter not containing a bill for once – thank you @the_economic_times India for a copy of this article about some of the stories I talked about during my my Cartier lecture in Mumbai last month.

The main story here is the one about my g-g uncle, Pierre Cartier, acquiring the entire Cartier New York 5th avenue building in exchange for a single necklace exactly 100 years ago.

Obviously it wasn’t just any old necklace – it was the most expensive necklace in the world – two strands of perfectly matched natural pearls, valued at around $1 million. Which, as luck would have it, was the same value as a rather successful businessman’s townhouse up by Central Park on 5th Avenue.

Unfortunately for the businessman in question, his new bride (30 years his junior) had spotted the necklace at Cartier’s small store and decided she simply must have it.

And so a deal was struck: the necklace for a (rather large) house.
It turned out to be a rather shrewd move for Cartier NY, which immediately made the prominent townhouse its American HQ.

It was less good for the businessman. When cultured pearls exploded onto the market, natural pearls plummeted in value. Several decades after that famous exchange, the necklace was sold for a fraction of its original value, while that building continues to be Cartier’s wonderful flagship New York store today.

#pearls #pearlnecklace #Cartiernewyork #Mortonplant #PierreCartier #Cartierhistory #cartierjewelry #naturalpearls #southseapearls #jewelryhistory #nyc #luxuryjewelry #luxury #instagem #5thavenue #jewelrylover #familyhistory

Louis Cartier’s platinum reformation in jewellery

I unearthed this great (if rather pompous!) quote at the New York Public Library while on a research trip to America last year. It’s my great-great uncle, Louis Cartier, talking to the press in 1927 at the time of the Paris International Fair about how his idea to experiment with non-precious metals had transformed the whole jewellery industry.

“The thick settings of gold and silver known since time immemorial were like the armour of jewellery..” he explained, “..Platinum became its embroidery.”

It’s easy to take the use of platinum in jewelry for granted nowadays but back then it was an industrial metal used in machinery rather than tiaras!

Louis was attracted to the metal after seeing how light and shiny it looked on a vehicle (unlike silver, it didn’t tarnish). He wanted to try it out in his jewellery but there was a problem – he couldn’t work out how to convert it into a support for precious stones.

Refusing to give up on his idea, he experimented by mixing it with other metals (like iridium) until, in 1896, Cartier finally came up with a form of hard platinum. It was – crucially – strong enough to hold gemstones in place and light enough not to detract from them.

This garland-style tiara/bandeau is a perfect example of Cartier’s early use of platinum. It was made in 1912 for Queen Elisabeth of Belgium (who actually later became related to Cartier by marriage when her son married my grandmother’s sister!).

Louis loved how the lightness and strength of the metal allowed him to create an almost lace-like effect where the diamonds appeared to float in air. Magical.

#innovation #louiscartier #jewellerydesign #garlandstyle #cartierartdeco #platinum #antiquejewellery #cartierartdeco #vintagecartier #vintagejewelry #cartierarchives #highjewelry #highjewellery #tiara #cartiertiara #bandeau

Coffee, cigarettes and a diamond ring?

Coffee, cigarettes and a diamond ring? Selling the dream, madmen style.

Pretty sure you wouldn’t get away with this type of glam nicotine promotion today….but back in 1955, if you really cared, you’d not only propose with a Cartier diamond ring, you’d also have the finest quality Kent cigarettes on standby (along with a classic Cartier lighter of course).

I guess, then you’d be prepared, whatever the answer…

#littleredbox #1950s #NewYork #willyoumarryme #diamondsforbreakfast#cartierlighter #coffeeandcigarettes
#cartiersolitaire #engagementring #vintagecartier #cartier

Cartier animal & bird magic

As a child I was memorized by the way my grandfather, Jean-Jacques Cartier, could make animals and birds come to life with a few strokes of his pencil on a scrap piece of paper – his ability to capture their likeness was magic.

Now I still treasure those sketches but I rather like the finished jewels they became too…

Excited to spot this little bird with ruby eye, carved emerald chest and diamond feathers resting on a golden perch @s_j_phillips – so sweet, and rather elegant too..

#cartier #emerald #diamond #ruby #brooch #cartierbrooch #jeanjacquescartier #jewelry #hautejoaillerie #antiquejewelry #vintagecartier #bird #birdjewelry #luxury