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Details & Cataloguing

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Onyx, ruby and diamond jabot pin, Cartier, circa 1925
Set with oval rubies, cushion-shaped diamonds and polished onyx, supporting a series of rubies, the keeper set with black onyx, an oval ruby and circular-cut diamonds, signed Cartier, partial maker's mark for Renault, few onyx deficient.
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Catalogue Note

This jabot pin is inspired by the traditional Indian sarpech, a turban ornament. Europe first came into contact with Indian jewellery at the time of the first Great Exhibition in London in 1851. In 1876, Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India, and from 1880 Indian jewellery enjoyed a certain craze in both England and France. Cartier’s initial contacts with Indian princes visiting London or Paris were made in the early 1900s. The firms’ first commission for an Indian-style jewel came not from an Indian client, but from Queen Alexandra in 1901.

Cartiers’ Indian and Persian style jewels were showcased in a marvellous exhibition held at their New York Fifth Avenue premises in 1913. The exhibition comprised fifty pieces in all, of which twenty were described as ‘From Indian Art’.

Generally the role played by the Indian style in Cartier’s work can be broken down into four aspects. Firstly, the commissions received by Indian clients and their influence on the design of other Cartier pieces; secondly, the use of carved Mughal emeralds and other stones imported from India; thirdly the import of Indian antique and modern jewellery which Cartier resold unaltered, and lastly, Cartier’s creation of a fashion for Indian-style jewellery among non-Indian clients.

This jabot pin is one of these Indian inspired creations. The towering sarpech (jiqka) and the drooping turah, both Indian turban ornaments, influenced jewellery designers in Paris, London and New York. The principal component of the sarpech is the Kashmir palm (boteh) or mango leaf, a cone shape bent over at the point, found in Persian Mir and Serabend carpets. From 1912 the mango leaf inspired the basic shape of the Cartier version of the fashionable aigrette. In the 1920s, it was adapted with a drop stone dangling from its tip to be worn as lapel and hat brooches.

Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels

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Geneva