Everything starts with the spirit of the stone.” And with that mantra in mind, Cartier experts believe that each precious stone becomes a visual reflection of transparency and light. It even pushes beyond light to find the perfect balance of all a diamond’s elements, with articulation tests that give each necklace extreme suppleness and invisible little shackles.
At Cartier, the excellence of its gemstones is complemented by the perfection of craftsmanship that is maintained by the exacting standards of the eye and hand. From the gouache drafting to the seating of the stones, and from the design to the green wax where the outline of each diamond is indicated in white, the effect is as great as ever, and impossible to reduce to a formula, yet nourished with secrets.
During a recent Singapore viewing at the Pinacotheque de Paris, Cartier revealed its High Jewelry signature collection. Showcasing more than 600 rare pieces, Cartier became the event’s main attraction with its Etourdissant necklace, which features a harmonious composition that brings to mind both fluidity and majesty, with assertive geometrical lines formed with platinum beams.
The highlight is the brilliant-cut central stone, a D-colour internally flawless 34.96-carat diamond. In testament to the Maison’s virtuosity, the necklace is transformable and can be worn in two different ways simply by removing the first two rows.
Another stunning piece showcased at the event was the Agra Necklace, which is the latest iteration of Cartier’s signature Tutti Frutti style. Agra is a technical masterpiece that can be worn in three different ways with four removable carved ventre stones. The onyx, used to underline the stones, creates an exceptional volume and depth.
The Tutti Frutti style was first developed by Cartier in the mid-1920s, utilising the tri-colour combination of sapphires, rubies and emeralds, all engraved and carved into floral shapes in the Indian tradition.
During the exhibition, Cartier also revived the lost art of diamond threading, which can be seen in its Diamas diamond bracelet. The bracelet is made from platinum and diamonds and reflects craftsmanship that redefines the complex metier d’art of diamond threading. Myriad briollettes are strung onto specially developed threads, freeing the stones from a traditional setting, thus allowing them come to life.
The Cisela necklace, meanwhile, features the ancient decorative technique of gold chasing, which was first found on the bronzes of classical Greece on which it was used to create a relief pattern. Unlike engraving, chasing does not remove any of the material; instead, it punches indents using a small hammer that changes the shape of the metal. The metal is sufficiently malleable to be worked without the application of heat, which is why Cartier chose to use softer 20-carat gold instead of 18-carat gold. This piece was inspired by brooches that were produced by the Maison in the 1920s and 1930s.
Since Cartier was first established, the art of gem-making has evolved, but has always been reinforced by absolute discipline in execution. This is where desire and rigour come together in a sparkling marriage. Today, 130 people work at the heart of these workshops, and at least 10 years’ experience is required to be able to work on a High Jewelry piece, one of which can require up to 3,000 hours of work. Out of the 130 employees, 40 craftsmen are part of the restricted High Jewelry section.
Cartier’s timeless designs and philosophy don’t stop there. A virtuoso of the millegrain setting, as well as the lily-of-the-valley setting, and a pioneer of the baguette cut, Cartier transcends genres, eras and styles in the name of life itself, life which bursts forth and inspires its eternal f