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ART DECO CUFF BRACELET WITH REMOVABLE SAPPHIRE AND DIAMOND CLIPS BY CARTIER, PARIS, CIRCA 1935

A polished gray gold cuff set a the front with two detachable clips, each of floral design set with petals of oval and cushion-shaped sapphires, the centers set with round diamonds; mounted in 18-karat white gold and platinum; with maker’s and French assay marks

  • Signed Cartier, Paris, 06826
  • Each clip: 1 5/8 x 1 5/8 inches
  • Bangle: 2 3/4 x 2 3/4 x 1 5/8 inches

Additional cataloguing

Biography

Cartier was founded in Paris in 1847 by Louis-François Cartier. His three grandsons, Louis, Pierre, and Jacques, built the house into a famous international jewelry empire serving royalty, Hollywood stars, and socialites. Cartier has created some of the most important jewelry and objects of art of the twentieth century with many iconic designs such as mystery clocks, Tutti Frutti jewelry and the Panthère line. In 1983, The Cartier Collection was established with the objective of acquiring important pieces that trace the firm’s artistic evolution. Today, Cartier has 200 stores in 125 countries.

 

Significance

In the late 1930s, the geometric abstraction of the Art Deco era evolved as recognizable natural motifs made their way back into jewelry design and the flat designs of earlier decades were replaced with bolder sculptural massing. Cartier championed the new modern aesthetic and produced some of the most compelling jewelry during this time, striking a balance between the naturalistic and the abstract. Bangles, necklaces, and dress clips were produced with vibrant sculptural forms using a restricted color palette, emphasizing the curves and planes of each design. Under the direction of Jeanne Toussaint, who took over the luxury jewelry department in 1933, Cartier modernized their approach to wearable jewelry, creating convertible pieces that fit the lifestyle of the modern woman and could be worn in a variety of ways, such as this bangle with detachable clips.

Nature and modernity is beautifully balanced in this jewel. Each brooch clip is set with a variety of oval and cushion-shaped sapphires in shades of a light cornflower blue hue, each representing a petal of the flower, with color variations simulating those found in nature. The flower center is composed of round diamonds set at different heights and angles producing a unique texture and representing the pistils of a flower. There is a sense of femininity in the curved facets of the sapphires and diamonds, and in the naturalistic pale blue color of the sapphires. The brooches can then be worn clipped to a dress or jacket in a variety of positions, or they can be worn on the modern polished gray gold bracelet. The cuff is signed on the reverse or gris referring to gray gold which was used by many avant-garde jewelers of the time such as Suzanne Belperron, who preferred it for its visual appeal and cool tone.

At the turn of the century, Cartier was one of the first jewelry houses to master the use of platinum. Their innovative designers used the remarkable metal’s qualities of hardness and suppleness to create delicate settings that nearly disappeared. For these clips, the platinum setting hides behind the stones, instead highlighting the subtleties of the color and shapes. Together with the original and cleverly designed fitted box with matching numbering, this combination jewel is extraordinary and versatile. Modern, yet feminine and naturalistic, this jewel is extremely rare and an excellent example of superior design by a world-renowned jewelry house.

A plate from Dr. Thomé’s Flora von Deutschland (1886) depicting a cornflower. This botanical book is the type that Cartier had in their library and designers were encouraged to look at for inspiration.

The flower clips are removable and can be worn as brooches.