B and bracelets were the vogue arm ornament of the early 1920s. Usually designed as chains of narrow, articulated, geometrical plaques and links, or set with courses of gemstones of contrasting colours, they became, in the mid-1920s, wider, flexible, gem-set bands.
The geometrical style of the 1920s well suited the linear shape of these bracelets. Zigzags, triangles, concentric squares, stylised buckles, chevrons and chequered patterns, stylised leaves and flowers pierced in platinum and pavé-set with diamond and multicoloured gemstones of all shapes, became the most sought after decorative motifs combined with motifs inspired by exotic civilization from across the world and the ages.
This 1920s Cartier bracelet was made for Queen Victoria Eugenia of Spain. We know of no other significant Cartier jewel that employed the charming baby pink conch pearl in conjunction with black enamel and diamonds. The fruiting vine central motif is shared with other highly chromatic, ‘tutti frutti’, bracelets designed in the company’s workshops at this date. Although the design is totally balanced and harmonious, the principal gems, all of different sizes and slightly different shades of colour are placed asymmetrically giving the jewel a sense of tension which is highly unusual.
This sapphire and diamond bracelet by Van Cleef & Arpels was made around 1925. Note the simple yet striking composition of interlinking circles and cross motifs, the beautifully matched stones and the superb workmanship, employing sapphires “calibré-cut” to fit the settings.