Saturday, 27 November 2010

CARTIER: a masterpiece art deco onix and diamond pendant/brooch

A masterpiece!, one of those rare items that surely will achieve a record price at Christie's NY auction. This is a 1910 pendant/brooch signed by Cartier that comprises an elaborate design with onix and old cut diamonds with everything to become an art deco icon. Moreover, it was executed 15 years before the Arts Decoratifs Paris exhibition which makes it even more remarkable as an example of Cartier's vision.

Cartier, as explained by Carol Woolton in the introduction to her book, was the first haute jeweller in Paris to align his trade to the fashion industry. He moved his shop to the couturiers district as early as 1898 and during the 1925 exhibition he set his own one in the Pavillon d'Elegance instead of the Grand Palais with the rest of the jewellers.

In 1910 when this piece was conceived, the world was still focused on the Belle Epoque pieces, white diamond jewellery and the reminiscences of the Garland Style. Art Nouveau was a minority and bohemian trend to introduce colour and yet, cartier jumped one generation and went straight into Art Deco introducing this distinctive onix and diamond combination. There are a few pieces by Cartier from this period most of them in museums and important collections, this one is worthy of a place next to them.