Rose and Lily Corsage Ornament, Cartier Paris, 1906, platinum, round old- and rose-cut diamonds, millegrain setting, 19.5 x 29 cm. Sold to Mary Scott Townsend, Cartier Collection
Founded in Paris in 1847, the House of Cartier originally sold a wide range of luxury goods including luxury jewelry made by several local Parisian ateliers. Everything changed in 1899, when they set up their own design studio in making their own jewelry under one roof.
At the time, Cartier boldly rejected the popular Art Nouveau style which was considered high fashionable at the time, and turned their attention towards antique jewelry production. They introduced their neoclassical-period collection which emphasized tassels, ribbon and bows.
Cartier took grand risks at this time, where favored platinum over the traditional gold and silver. Platinum allowed the diamonds to become more stable, especially when they favored most of their designs using small pave settings. Tiaras and other jewelry could now hold thousands of tiny diamonds with the use of platinum. With the availability of low cost, smaller diamonds in South Africa, Cartier’s risk-taking paid off. Cartier quickly became popular with European royals and for wealthy Americans. The royal courts of Europe were turning to Cartier for their jewels, as the French Louis XVI style jewels of the 1700’s never went out of style. They housed an array of tiaras, brooches and pendant necklaces, and have become one of the well known jewelry designers of all time.
Read more behind this famous jewelry company in Cartier Royal: High Jewelry and Precious Objects- A new 2015 book on Amazon
Small example of a small kokoshnik tiara made in 1914 by Cartier at Paris is also made of platinum with a stylized Art Deco tree at the centre with branches undulating outward ending in black onyx leaves all set against a diamond background. Pearls were set at rhythmic intervals to enliven its unbroken contours.
This diadem, made by Lavabre for Cartier Paris as a special order, 1911.
Diamonds in open-back millegrain platinum setting. A running scroll with
garlands and stylised buds, framed by double row of diamonds.