|A rock crystal and gem-set "Orange Tree" brooch, by Cartier, 1914|
There are several reasons why this tiny piece is so rare and none of them have to do with the stones. This piece is all about daring design and convention challenging. The brooch was made in 1914, almost eleven years before the Paris Art Decoratives exhibition took place, so the use of bold colours itself is already very innovative for its time. A green foil behind the carve rock crystal, the use of citrine, emerald and rubies in the same piece are almost provocative in a piece signed by Cartier back then. There is no individual signature by the designer but everything points towards Charles Jacqueau, one of the most famous designers that has worked for the Maison, and chief responsible for its transition to Art Deco from the white jewellery of the Belle Epoque and the Garland Style. The other element that points towards Jacqueau is the black onix and white diamond geometrical combination, he was responsible for the groundbreaking "panther" watch design made in that same year of 1914 also by Cartier.
The piece will be auctioned by Bonham's London next April 30th. We will be there!