Friday, October 27, 2017

Six Iconic Highlights from the Cartier Collection

A 1951 Cartier ruby and diamond necklace owned by Elizabeth Taylor.

The Cartier Mansion in Manhattan is featuring a high jewelry exhibit through this Sunday, October 29, 2017, and I was able to spend an hour there on the first day the show was open to the public. It featured one floor dedicated to high jewelry for sale, an atelier featuring three Cartier artisans from Paris showing how the pieces are made, and antique and vintage jewelry from the Cartier Collection. Since I was not able to get to Denver for the exhibit Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century back in 2014, it was nice to visit with some of the collection’s highlights. You won’t be surprised to know my favorite piece was Elizabeth Taylor’s 1951 ruby and diamond necklace, a present from her third husband Mike Todd, and one of the most famous pieces of her fabled and extensive jewelry collection. I was so happy to finally see it in person!

A side shot.

The photo below is as famous as the necklace and shows Liz and Mike right after he gave her the jewelry in August 1957. The earrings just came back to auction this past May at Christie’s Geneva and sold for about $632,000. I asked more than one Cartier rep at the exhibit if Cartier had bought them back to add to the Cartier Collection and no one seemed to know the answer so maybe they were purchased privately!

Liz and Mike Todd, August 1957.

The Duchess of Windsor’s 1949 Panther brooch.

Another piece I loved seeing was the Duchess of Windsor’s 1949 panther brooch of platinum, white gold, white diamonds, yellow diamonds, and sapphires, featuring a 152.35-carat Kashmir sapphire cabochon that the panther perches on. I would have loved to have seen her Flamingo brooch, which I believe Cartier now owns as well, but the panther brooch was also nice to see up close for the first time. I feel like most photos of this brooch feature it from a side angle, as shown above. I thought it would be fun to get a picture of the panther’s full face, not just a profile. I like this angle. He looks surprised, like I caught him on the furniture. Get off that exercise ball, kitty!

A 1932 special order by Cartier London.

The amazing emerald and diamond necklace above is a 1932 Cartier London special order by Lady Granard. The emerald is 143.23 carats! I have read that Lady Granard, born Beatrice Mills, daughter of American financier Ogden Mills, shared her father’s love of owning and racing thoroughbreds and her horses were very successful in European races (maybe her race winnings are how she paid for such a huge necklace). Who doesn’t love racehorses and jewels!

These tigers belonged to Barbara Hutton.

Three other beauties I enjoyed visiting with were the 1957 Tiger clip owned by the Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton, as well as the 1961 Tiger ear clips, which she special ordered. I do not know all that much about her but I have read that when she died she did not leave much money behind but she did leave a lot of jewelry! I also know that the cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post was her aunt by marriage when Post was married to Barbara’s uncle E.F. Hutton. Just between those two ladies alone there was some serious jewelry collecting going on. Barbara Hutton is buried at the Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. If she were at the Green-Wood Cemetery here in Brooklyn I’d go visit her grave! I like the photo of her below, showing her wearing the brooch.

Barbara Hutton wearing her 1957 Cartier Tiger brooch.

I have been sharing photos from the exhibit on Instagram this week. If you click here you should be able to visit my feed even if you don’t have an account. If you do have one, please do follow me for regular jewelry photos.

If you were able to see the Cartier jewelry exhibit let me know what you thought of it!


rosie said...

Hi Jill,

What a spectacular display of gorgeous jewelry.

Barbara Hutton was known as "The Poor Little Rich Girl". One of her husbands was Cary Grant (not too shabby). Another husband was the legendary and notorious playboy Poriforo Rubirosa. He was also married briefly to Doris Duke. Ms. Duke was a rival of Ms. Hutton & known for her extraordinary collection of diamonds.

Farrah Fawcett played Ms. Hutton is a movie of the week back in the '80's.

PinkCheetahVintage said...

Might be one of my favorite posts... Just gorgeous pieces.