The history of Cartier’s iconic design, the Panthère, was first spotted in 1914 featuring its distinct markings on a watch. Those markings in the panther pattern were represented in onyx and diamonds, on a ladies’ wristwatch. In 1917, the Panthère graduated from abstract to figurative representation three years later when it was depicted, flanked by cypress trees, on a case gifted by Louis Cartier to Jeanne Toussaint in 1917.
Toussaint was a French jeweller and fashion designer who, as legend has it, was the muse for Louis Cartier. So enamoured was he that in 1933, he appointed her as director of fine jewellery. The move paid off as Toussaint turned the Panthère design into an icon.
Through the years, the design has evolved from figurative to graphic to wild as the Panthère renews itself, adapts jewellery expertise, and expands the repertoire of its design and wear.
This year the collection is more feline than ever, with fully articulated sculptural creations. Remarkably supple, these necklaces and bracelets featuring powerful volumes can unfold without revealing a hinge due to an invisible system developed by Cartier that adds a sense of mystery to the collection. These flexible jewellery pieces hug the body as closely as possible thanks to their magnetic and curved design, just like Cartier’s emblematic animal.
The bangle (pictured) is made of yellow gold marked with octagonal black lacquer spots, or white gold paved with diamonds and set with onyx spots. Its long, curved design stems from two heads of sculptural panthers with emerald or tsavorite garnet eyes.
The movement of the articulated Panthère necklace (pictured) and bracelet is made possible by the composition of two different components crossed with two gold blades linked to two springs positioned in the heads of the panthers. This is a real challenge in terms of craftsmanship that requires Maison’s jewellers to respect the distribution of the Panthère’s spots. For the versions set with diamonds, the setter’s job consists of encircling each stone with small metal grains to secure it. Next, using the Cartier “fur” setting, they skilfully cut around the onyx to give the impression of the animal’s silky coat.