Jewelry & Watchmaking

« Cartier: style and history »: a mesmerizing exhibition in Paris, until February 2014

Dec 10, 2013 | Parisian Eye
1910 tiara – shot with my Leica
Right before attending the preview of  « Cartier : style and history » last week, I came across this saying about the jeweler : “known by many, owned by few, dreamt by all ».
With « Cartier : style and history », the biggest ever exhibition dedicated to the world famous jeweler, dreaming takes a new dimension. As you step into the prestigious “Salon d’Honneur” of the Grand Palais in Paris, you are immediately transported back into history, as 10 stunning platinum and diamond tiaras are displayed, slowly spinning around. Beautiful, refined and incredibly dazzling, they are also historical objects, like the one that belonged to Marie Bonaparte.
The magnificent tiara showcase – shot with my Leica
The wonderful tiara showcase – shot with my Leica
Marie de Bonaparte’s tiara – shot with my Leica
1905 tiara – shot with my Leica
1909 tiara – shot with my Leica
1908 Kokochnik tiara – shot with my Leica
Over 1,200 square meters and under remarkable high ceilings where animated frescoes representing the Maison’s influences are continuously projected, nearly 600 breathtaking pieces are displayed. The variety of jewels and personal objects that are shown is impressive, classified under significant styles associated to different periods of time: Art Deco, as well as Chinese, Persian or Egyptian inspirations, only to name a few.
As some of the world’s most famous women, from Hollywood stars to royalty, have helped writing Cartier’s history and destiny through the decades, the exhibition delights us with their stunning personal belongings:
One of the Queen Elizabeth II’s favourite brooches, landed especially by her Majesty for the exhibition : specialized in designing
remarkable settings for historic stones, Cartier places the Williamson diamond in the hollow of a delicate flower of diamonds, becoming a piece of jewelry highly appreciated by the Queen.
A ruby necklace, cuff bracelet and snake ring that belonged to Elizabeth Taylor – complemented with an amateur film from 1957, showing Liz Taylor receiving, by her pool, a jewelry set from her then husband, producer Mike Todd .
Liz Taylor’s cuff bracelet and snake ring – shot with my Leica
Liz Taylor’s ruby necklace – shot with my Leica
Grace Kelly’s impressive engagement ring, along with 20 official and more personal pieces (birds and poodle brooches, emblematic of Cartier’s menagerie), exceptionally lended by the principality of Monaco.
Grace Kelly’s engagement ring – shot with my Leica
Grace Kelly’s engagement ring – shot with my Leica
Some of Grace Kelly’s jewelry – shot with my Leica
Grace Kelly’s tiara – shot with my Leica
Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor’s sublime panther brooch, set on a 152,35 carat sapphire – presented on its own wall, besides a few more colorful costume jewelry pieces, as stunning, in a different style. Wallis Simpson left a lasting mark on the history of Cartier, as the first client associated with the panther symbol – it was for her that Cartier created the first three-dimensional panther jewel in 1948.
Wallis Simpson’s panther brooch – shot with my Leica
Wallis Simpson’s drapery necklace and flamingo brooch – shot with my Leica
The tiara worn by Kate Middleton on her wedding day with Prince William. The « halo » tiara was made in 1936 and purchased by King George VI for his wife Queen Elizabeth three weeks before he succeeded his brother as King.  The tiara was presented to Princess Elizabeth, now the Queen, by her mother on the occasion of her 18th birthday. It was Kate’s very
own « something borrowed »…
I cannot show pictures, but it is one of the most impressive pieces to see – maybe because it is so close in history…
Finally, besides the jaw-dropping tiaras, one my favorite item definitely was the magnificent necklace made especially for the Maharaja of Patiala by Cartier in 1928. Absolutely impressive, it feared in its original version the world’s 7th largest diamond, weighing 234 carats (besides 2,930 diamonds, for a total of 962.25 carats). Later dismantled and found in a wretched state in 1998, the necklace was reconstituted over a 3 year period by Cartier.

The Maharaja of Patiala’s necklace (and his dog’s) – shot with my Leica
The Maharaja of Patiala’s necklace (and his dog’s) – shot with my Leica
The Maharaja of Patiala’s necklace (and his dog’s) – shot with my Leica
« Cartier : style and history » simply is one of the very best exhibitions I have ever seen – not only because of the thousands
of diamonds and carats on display, but also because when you think about, it is the most unexpected and random reunion of jewels possible. From Hollywood stars to royalty and the most respected socialites of all times, it’s history before you eyes !Besides the “celebrity” pieces, here is a selection of what I liked best at the exhibition:

Shot with my Leica
Shot with my Leica
Shot with my Leica
Shot with my Leica
Shot with my Leica
Shot with my Leica
Shot with my Leica
Shot with my Leica
Shot with my Leica
Shot with my Leica
Shot with my Leica
Shot with my Leica
Shot with my Leica
Shot with my Leica
Shot with my Leica
Shot with my Leica
Shot with my Leica
For more information about the exhibition, visit the Grand Palais website.
Cartier style and historydiamondsexhibitionjewelryjewelsKate MiddletonLiz TaylorMaharaja of PatialaMari BonapartepantherParisQueen Elisabeth IIWallis Simpson

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