London, circa 1930
Signed Cartier London to reverse
Original fitted Cartier London case
Length: 45 mm
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Cartier is a French jewellery house founded in 1847 by Louis-Francois Cartier. The house's history started when Louis-Francois Cartier took over master-craftsman Adolphe Picard's atelier in Paris and began creating elegant jewellery recognisable for the use of platinum. The French aristocracy was soon enchanted by the fine jewellery, and Princess Mathilde, niece of Napoleon I, made her first purchase in 1856. Three years later, the Empress Eugenie joined the list of Cartier admirers, and in 1859, Cartier opened a boutique on the Boulevard des Italiens in Paris. In 1899, Alfred and his son Louis Cartier created the first fine wristwatch with diamonds. The piece was a great success, and that same year, 1899, a new Cartier boutique was inaugurated in Paris, at 13 Rue de la Paix, that would go on to become the hub of the house's expertise. Alfred’s third son remained behind in Paris to continue the growth of Cartier at home. His revolutionary ideas, such as using platinum in jewellery, earned Cartier the title of ‘Jeweller of Kings, King of Jewellers’ from King Edward VII. The celebrity endorsements didn’t stop there, with Louis’ friend Alberto Santos-Dumont commissioning a watch to wear while piloting his lighter-than-air dirigible. Santos-Dumont’s celebrity status made the wrist-worn watch, uncommon at the time, a must-have fashion accessory among men. A stint on the Western Front inspired Louis to design a watch based on the Renault FT tanks he’d seen in action, turning the profile of a war machine into something beautiful: the Cartier Tank, one of the brand’s most successful timepieces. A commission for the Pacha of Marrakech followed, a waterproof watch that could be worn while swimming. The canteen crown design became the publicly available Cartier Pasha, another icon of Cartier’s past. Perhaps Louis’ most iconic creation was the triple gold Trinity ring, woven in three filaments of red, white and yellow gold.Description
Centring on a circular-cut diamond weighing approximately 1.00 carat, the articulated bar brooch of stylised pagoda design set with circular-cut and baguette diamonds, mounted with a sprung mechanism bending the links outwards when pushed, allowing the brooch to be threaded on a scarf.
By the early 1930s, Cartier had developed a design vocabulary of their own, which adapted the wide range of Asian and Middle Eastern influences which had shaped their colourful jewels over the 1920s to the general taste for larger, bolder and predominantly white jewels in the new decade.
While Cartier's three branches - Paris, London and New York, were all producing jewels in this sophisticated style, Cartier London's jewels of this time are perhaps the most numerous and opulent, bolstered locally over the decade by a new generation of royal patronage, and the increased demand for tiaras and grand necklaces in the lead up to the corontation of George VI.
Taking its inspiration from the flaring eaves of multi-storied pagodas, a well-known feature of East Asian Buddhist temple architecture, this architectural brooch is also unusual for its articulated design. By pressing at each end of the sprung brooch, the articulated links of the front section bend outwards, allowing it to be threaded on a silk scarf worn at the neck, or simply pinned as a chic bar brooch.
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