Resonance and Rarities at Cartier’s New High Jewelry Exhibition

by Wendy Sy Photographed by and courtesy of Cartier
Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The doors of Cartier’s Fifth Avenue mansion are temporarily closed and there’s a good reason why: the Maison is preparing to unveil its Haute Joaillerie exhibition, open to the public from October 21-29. Featuring its newest collection, Résonances de Cartier, along with vintage pieces (some never-before-seen), the showcase marks the largest one ever focused on High Jewelry at the historic landmark building.

The Résonances de Cartier collection takes inspiration from each gemstone and its luminosity upon catching light. One occurring theme throughout the designs are rhythmic patterns. Take, for example, one of the bracelets, which changes colors with every movement of the wrist. It’s completely reversible, like many of Cartier’s pieces, set in pink gold, and features scale motifs made of lapis lazuli on one side and diamonds on the other. 

A number of the exhibition’s vintage jewels link back to Cartier’s historic ties to royal families, aristocrats and socialites. Expect to find rarities such as a 1954 amethyst, turquoise and diamond bracelet sold to the Duke of Windsor and a 1951 Burmese ruby necklace that once belonged to Elizabeth Taylor.

Spotted during a tour of the space is an anniversary pearl necklace resembling the one Pierre Cartier (grandson of Cartier’s founder) offered businessman Morton F. Plant, plus $100, in exchange for the mansion in 1917. Plant agreed and gifted the pearl necklace to his wife, Maisie. Thus marked the start of a legacy. Last summer, the mansion completed a two-and-a-half year-long renovation led by architect Thierry Despont.

Archival documents and sketches will also be on display, highlighting three iconic Cartier themes: Panthère, Tutti Frutti and Diamonds. On the third floor of the mansion’s Gary Cooper and Andy Warhol salons, the atelier takes center stage. A jeweler, lapidary and gem setter will be on site to demonstrate their work and share techniques derived from storied workshops in Paris.

“Guests will have the unique opportunity to experience the art of High Jewelry in person, bearing witness to the traditions of skilled craftsmanship that have been handed down within our Maison for more than 170 years,” said Mercedes Abramo, president and chief executive officer of Cartier North America.

And while not every single piece is for sale, many will be. In the meantime, if you’re in dire need of diamonds, there’s always the Cartier boutique in Central Park and on Madison Avenue.


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