Jewel sensations

Inside the ‘Cartier Style and History’ exhibition

by 06 December 2013

Cartier has opened its glittering Style and History exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris.

The exhibition, which runs until February 16, showcases the historic jeweller’s 600 famous jewellery pieces, as well as its so-called Mystery Clocks, watches, sketches, paintings and clothes.

The display spans more than a century from 1847 up until the 1970s.

The exhibition takes us on a journey through Cartier’s famous and innovative creations. Dubbed as the "Jeweller of Kings and King of Jewellers" by King Edward VII, Cartier’s spectacular retrospective is arranged to recount a story and promises ‘an intriguing testimony to the changes in taste and social codes’ by way of its designs.

The majority of the 600 jewellery pieces derive from the jeweller’s own archives; a result of Cartier’s decision to start buying back historic pieces at auction or from antique dealers in the mid-1980s.

There are also fifty pieces from some of the world’s most prestigious institutions, including Musée des Arts décoratifs, 20 of which, are taken directly from the Prince of Monaco’s collection, which belonged to Princess Grace.

Among the priceless pieces on show are the Duchess of Cambridge's wedding tiara, set with 739 brilliants and 149 baton diamonds and Elizabeth Taylor's ruby necklace.

Other pieces include a three-dimensional diamond-encrusted panther mounted on a smooth sapphire; a colourful, bespoke flamingo brooch; an exceptional 23.6 carat Williamson diamond, considered to be the finest pink diamond ever found, set in a flower-shaped brooch by Cartier, and, probably the house’s most famous piece of all time, the Maharaja of Patiala’s ceremonial necklace (1928, Cartier) comprising five diamond-studded chains, originally set with more than 2,900 diamonds and with a total weight of 1,000 carats.