You know you’re in for a true spectacle, when Kate Middleton’s wedding tiara (the Halo diadem) looks comparatively modest. Cartier: Style and History, currently showing at the Grand Palais, covers more than a century at the house of Cartier. Beginning with the French maison’s birth in 1847 and carrying on through to the 1970s. Jewels belonging to royalty, socialites, maharajas, actresses (Grace Kelly straddling two categories here) and heiresses. The exhibition features more than 600 glittering jewels, along with sketches, items of clothing, accessories, and paintings; the majority of which have been sourced from Cartier’s own archives plus items on loan from private collections.
The Cartier Halo diadem tiara was made in 1936 and purchased by the Duke of York (later King George VI) for his wife, Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. Queen Elizabeth received it as an 18th birthday present and provided the ‘something borrowed’ on Kate Middleton’s wedding day. (See our previous post on the Royal Wedding Dress at Buckingham Palace here).
The famous Cartier Ruby Suite necklace, 1957. A gift from Mike Todd to Elizabeth Taylor. The Cartier press clippings which follow, relate to another renowned priceless gem: the Burton Taylor diamond. (See our previous post on Elizabeth Taylor’s jewellery collection here).
The Duke of Windsor presented Wallis Simpson with pieces commissioned from large jewellery houses like Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels to mark every special occasion. He presented her with this Cartier flamingo brooch in 1940
Marlene Dietrich in 1942, with her Cartier silver and gold bracelet and earrings.
Gloria Swanson wore these platinum, diamond and rock crystal bangles in the movie Sunset Boulevard.
One of the many highlights: Grace Kelly’s emerald-cut 10.47 carat engagement ring, given to her by Prince Rainier of Monaco. She can be seen wearing the ring in the film High Society.
Cartier: Style and History, Grand Palais, Paris runs unil 16 February 2014.
For further information please visit: www.grandpalais.fr
Suggested reading: The Cartier Collection: Jewellery. To purchase, visit our bookstore.
All images by CELLOPHANELAND* and Getty Images for Cartier.