THE BARON DE ROTHSCHILD NECKLACE: AN ART DECO EMERALD, SAPPHIRE, LAPIS LAZULI, AND DIAMOND PENDANT NECKLACE DESIGNED BY CHARLES JACQUEAU FOR CARTIER, PARIS, 1924

SOLD

A necklace of carved sapphire beads spaced by lapis lazuli beads and diamond rondelles, suspending a pendant with two emeralds and a sapphire carved with Mughal flower patterns and spaced by pavé-set diamond boules, with lapis lazuli and diamond accents; mounted in platinum

  • 1 hexagonal-shaped emerald, 1 oval-shaped sapphire, 1 pear-shaped emerald
  • 41 sapphire beads, 80 lapis lazuli beads
  • Copy of original drawing marked RR for Rene Revillon
  • Necklace length: 29 inches; pendant drop: 3 5/8 inches

Additional cataloguing

Certification

  • Gübelin Gem Lab Gemmological Report no. 13055035, dated June 4, 2013, stating the forty-one beads and one carved stone are natural corundum sapphire from Kashmir with no indications of heat.

 

Provenance

  • Baron Eugène de Rothschild

 

Literature

  • Nadelhoffer, Hans. Cartier. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2007, p. 136, no. 152.
  • Vogue, New York, November 15, 1927, p. 68.
  • Young-Sánchez, Margaret, et. al. Cartier in the 20th Century. New York: The Vendome Press, 2014, pp. 94–5.

 

Exhibitions

  • Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century, Denver Art Museum, Denver, November 16, 2014–March 15, 2015.

 

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 1920s, far off lands such as India, China, and Egypt became sources of inspiration and jewelers borrowed from the decorative themes of their art and architecture. The ideal Art Deco jewels incorporated these forms with a bold use of symmetry, geometry and color. Cartier started designing Indian-style jewels as early as 1901 for Queen Alexandria who commissioned a necklace to be worn with her Indian gowns.

Starting in 1909, Jacques Cartier traveled to India to take orders from the Maharajas and to purchase beautiful antique engraved stones that were later incorporated into many of their most important Art Deco designs. The Mughal emeralds used by Cartier in their creations during the 1920s were originally from Colombia, imported into India beginning in the late seventeenth century, where they were carved with floral motifs derived from seventeenth-century Indian architecture.

Designed by Charles Jacqueau this necklace, made in 1924, captured the essence of India while incorporating the bold aesthetic of the Art Deco movement. Jaqueau was a visionary of the Art Deco, and this necklace utilizes his innovative use of color. The pendant features three important Mughal stones. The hexagonal-shaped emerald features a floral design and is highlighted by a border of platinum set with lapis and diamond-set prongs with lapis arrow motifs. Above the emerald, a carved sapphire and a carved emerald bead spaced by diamond boules connect to a necklace of carved sapphire beads. The mixing of blue and green, which Louis Cartier call the “peacock pattern,” was inspired by the enameled Mughal jewelry of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but Jacqueau modernized the combination with elegant diamond and platinum elements. A handful of these magnificent necklace incorporating carved Mughal emeralds were created for some of the wealthiest and most knowledgeable connoisseurs of art in the 1920s including J. P. Morgan, the Aga Khan, and the owner of this necklace, Baron Eugène de Rothschild. Designed by an Art Deco master and incorporating important Mughal stones, this necklace is a tour-de-force and is as stunning today as when it was first designed.

Andrée Aga Khan in 1930 wearing a Cartier carved emerald and sapphire necklace similar to the necklace on offer.

Original pencil, gouache, and watercolor of the necklace from the Cartier Archives.

“Vogue Sketches: The Beautiful New Jewels on the Smartest Women in Paris” featuring the Baron de Rothschild necklace on the left in Vogue, November 15, 1927. This spread featured the most exceptional jewelry owned and worn by the most stylish women in Paris.

The Vogue caption describes the “milky sapphires and carved emeralds” on a “supple cord of diamonds” as worn by the Baronne de Rothschild.