The Cartier and America exhibition covers the history of the House of Cartier from its early period as the “king of jewelers and jeweler to kings” during the Belle Epoque through to the 1960s and 1970s, when Cartier supplied celebrities with jewels and luxury accessories.
Derived mainly from the private Cartier Collection housed in Geneva, the more than 200 objects on display include jewelry of the Gilded Age and Art Deco periods, as well as freestanding works of arts such as the famous Mystery Clocks, and of course iconic Cartier personal timepieces.
The exhibition marks Cartier’s 100 years in the United States and it focuses on pieces worn by Americans, including a pair of rock crystal and diamond bracelets worn by Gloria Swanson in the movie Sunset Boulevard, Daisy Fellowes’s “Tutti Frutti” necklace, and an exotic panther brooch purchased by the Duchess of Windsor.
Private lenders in the United States and France have contributed significant pieces to the exhibition.
For the first time, an American museum will feature the personal jewelry of Princess Grace of Monaco from the time of her wedding to Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, in 1956.
These, generously lent by H.S.H. Prince Albert II, include her engagement ring, a 10.47-carat emerald-cut diamond set with two baguette diamonds mounted in platinum; a grand diamond necklace; and more informal gold brooches in the form of poodles and birds.
The Lindemann Collection of Palm Beach is sharing some of its incomparable mystery clocks and flower pieces, and the Hillwood Museum in Washington, D.C., is lending jewelry made for cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post, a longtime Cartier patron.
Post’s brooch, one of the most spectacular jewels made in the 20s, incorporates Indian carved carved emeralds, one of which dates from the Mughal era.
Cartier and America runs through May 9, 2010 at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco.
For more information about the exhibit, visit the Legion of Honor official website.