NEW YORK – One of the crowning achievements of the French jewellery house, Cartier’s exceptional ‘Tutti Frutti’ bracelet – one of the highlights in the sale of Magnificent Jewels from the collection of Evelyn H. Lauder in New York this December – owes its existence to India.
It was 1901 that marked the house of Cartier’s first foray into Indian-inspired design when Pierre Cartier was commissioned by Queen Alexandra to create a necklace to accompany her collection of Indian gowns.
It was 1911, however, when his brother, Jacques Cartier, embarked on his first voyage to India that the influence of this vibrant nation was to be seen in the Parisian jeweller’s work. Captivated by the vitality of Indian life, Cartier returned to Europe inspired to incorporate the Subcontinent’s bright colours and traditionally carved cabochons into his pieces. The subsequent designs are a sparkling tribute to Mughal decorative art, and following their inception, Cartier’s English atelier became an obligatory stopover for visiting maharajas.
FROM THE COLLECTION OF EVELYN H. LAUDER, SOLD TO BENEFIT THE BREAST CANCER RESEARCH FOUNDATION: PLATINUM, DIAMOND, COLOURED STONE AND ENAMEL 'TUTTI FRUTTI' BRACELET, CARTIER, CIRCA 1928. ESTIMATE $750,000–1,000,000.
It was only in 1970 that the colourful collection was christened ‘Tutti Frutti,’ a light-hearted reference to their joyous celebration of tone, texture and form. Floral themes abound, with the traditional vine of Mughal art reinterpreted as a twisting ribbon of diamonds, blossoming with exquisitely carved emerald and ruby foliage and ripe onyx fruits.
In the absence of sapphires, the reduced colour palette suggests this piece was a special commission, making an already spectacular item unique. Marrying Eastern and Western influences with Cartier’s supreme artistry, this bracelet, together with other works from the Lauder collection, is being sold in aid of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Eliza Chubb is a specialist in the Indian Art department, Sotheby’s London.