Monday, 24 January 2011

CARTIER: reappearance of a historic 141 carat emerald

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In 1925, Cartier presented a magnificent carved emerald at the Exposition des Arts Decoratifs in Paris. "It was set as the central jewel of a necklace to be worn in a style never seen before". The emerald dates back to the 16th century when the Spanish discovered the mines of Chivor in Colombia and started the trade with Europe and the Portuguese with Asia. This stone travelled first from Colombia to Seville, and then to Goa in India, where it was acquired by the Mogul emperor Shah Jahan who had it carved by the royal artisans in Jaipur. It would not be until the beginning of the 20th century when the gem would travel back to Europe when it was brought to Paris by an Indian prince to have it remounted in the modern style of the time.

The emerald was first mounted for the Paris Exposition in an extremely original shoulder adornment with two other carved emeralds, pearls, black enamel and diamonds on platinum. It was just a long string of articulated pieces to be thrown over the shoulder.

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Later, the emerald would be reset in a different style as an Art Deco brooch. Finally, last year, Cartier presented the emerald in Paris, at the 25th Biennale des Antiquaries, with a number of different drawings as proposals for a new setting. All of them amazing, just looking forward to seeing which one will be chosen by the lucky collector that acquires the piece.