Cartier’s 'tutti-frutti' designs are a joyous celebration of texture, form and color. Pierre Cartier designed the first piece in this style in 1901, a necklace commissioned by Queen Alexandra to be worn with a collection of Indian gowns. The piece succeeded in blending the sumptuous curves and vibrant colors associated with the exoticism of India with modern jewelry making techniques perfected at the House of Cartier. From this point onward, Cartier’s workshop in England became a sought-after destination for visiting maharajas.
In 1911, Jacques Cartier made his first voyage to India. Upon observing the vitality of Indian life with its fearless mixture of sounds, experiences, and traditions unknown in the West, he returned to Europe emboldened to incorporate bright, unrelenting colors and textures into his designs. These robust creations, incorporating carved Moghul gemstones, recall a period of mutual adoration and fascination between the East and West. As explained by Hans Nadelhoffer, “Indian rulers were exclusively interested in Parisian jewelry and had no hesitation in handing over their family treasures for reworking in fashionable European styles. Conversely, India’s traditional enamel jewelry with its engraved gemstones became something of a craze in Europe.” Derived from the Indian tradition, carved multi-colored beads and enamel, worn in abundance, quickly gained popularity in the West for the first part of the 20th century.
The present bracelet is a unique illustration of the marriage between Eastern and Western influences in jewelry making. So rare is the incorporation of pearl accents in the 'tutti-frutti' oeuvre that the design may have been specifically commissioned from Cartier upon the client’s request. The fluid openwork band overflows with ripe gems, culminating at the clasp with the voluptuous emerald drop gracefully escaping down the wrist. The delicate mounting allows the rubies, sapphires, emeralds and pearls to appear as though floating weightlessly on the wrist, their mysterious shapes and subtly varying hues dancing across the bracelet as though borne from a painter’s brush rather than a jeweler’s lathe.
This bracelet’s allure rests not only with the inherent beauty of the stones, it stems from the artistry that brings the bracelet to life. It is a superb example of the firm’s innovative craftsmanship and stands as a testament to the rich history of Cartier.
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