FROM THE COLLECTION OF EVELYN H. LAUDER SOLD TO BENEFIT THE BREAST CANCER RESEARCH FOUNDATION
In 1911, Pierre Cartier’s brother Jacques ventured to the subcontinent in order to foster an appreciation of Cartier jewels among Indian aristocrats. Upon observing India’s exotic culture and traditions, Jacques’ business expedition soon developed into an educational journey that would influence how his family firm would design jewels for years to come. He returned to his London workshop teeming with inspiration, incorporating the fulgent colors and rich textures of carved Moghul gemstones into the geometric platinum and diamond mountings crafted at Cartier. As explained by Hans Nadelhoffer, “Indian rulers [in the early 20th Century] were exclusively interested in Parisian jewelry and had no hesitation in handing over their family treasures for reworking in fashionable European styles.” The result of this fortuitous marriage of East and West, the tutti frutti style was nothing short of a triumph, enchanting connoisseurs then as it does today over a century later.
The Lauder tutti frutti bracelet is featured in Nadelhoffer’s seminal book, Cartier: Jewelers Extraordinary. Boasting ripe rubies and emeralds interspersed with spherical onyx berries issuing from diamond-set stems, the piece’s organic qualities are balanced by a symmetry that is both elegant and sophisticated. The focused color palate, absent of sapphires, suggests the piece may have been a special commission. The telltale zig-zag of black enamel, however, is tantamount to a signature, making this piece at once a masterpiece of Art Deco design and quintessentially Cartier.
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