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Cartier's High Jewellery collection is a lesson in nature

Audrey Simon
Audrey Simon • 4 min read
Cartier's High Jewellery collection is a lesson in nature
The new High Jewellery collection by Cartier reveals a nature that is more real than nature itself.
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The new High Jewellery collection by Cartier reveals a nature that is more real than nature itself — pieces that interpret nature in abstract designs of water, flora and fauna

Reimagining the grand ballroom at the Capella Singapore as a lush enchanted forest, Cartier showcased 250 exquisite [Sur]Naturel High Jewellery pieces. Displayed in cases without a glass in front of them, the jewellery can be viewed in its full splendour.

Each piece, lovingly crafted by the Maison's team of dedicated craftsmen, is a lesson in nature in line with the [Sur]Naturel theme of flora, fauna and animals. The pieces embody nature and its landscape along with stylised or even abstract creations. This is exactly the approach initiated by Louis Cartier who, already in 1914, suggested the very first panther with a simple spot of onyx. It is this boldness, this philosophy, that has since guided Cartier to go even further into abstraction. Beyond plant or animal, the design reveals its own aesthetic beauty with striking features.

This collection includes pieces inspired by panthers, tigers, snakes, crocodiles and palm trees, and many more. Only Cartier is able to summon nature’s most beautiful treasures — gemstones — in an abundance of colours that display their evocative power.

Here are some of the jewellery in detail:

Taha necklace and earrings in white gold, green sapphires, green-blue sapphire, coloured sapphires, diamonds

All it took was a simple palm tree to inspire this collection. The design features an intricate floral arrangement of green and blue-green sapphires, heightened by the radiance of yellow diamonds/sapphires. Particularly flexible, the piece hints at the organic character of nature, all the way to the tour de cou that resembles a tree trunk. In small touches, gems with geometric shapes bring a stylised note — and cadenced punctuation — to this remarkably realistic ensemble. The set was handcrafted in 1,009 hours.

Since the first half of the 20th century, palm trees have been an unexpected source of inspiration. Suggesting a fascination for faraway cultures and landscapes, this exotic species was first featured on brooches in the 1920s in the mingling of geometric gems. A few years after being introduced, palm trees perfectly embodied the “Toussaint taste”— referring to Jeanne Toussaint, creative director of the Maison from 1933 to the early 1970s. Under her influence, the designers imagined unprecedented supple or articulated creations, conveying the opulence and aesthetic strength of the palm tree.

Nivalis necklace and earrings in platinum, aquamarines, opals, diamonds

In an almost entirely monochrome arrangement, this long necklace features a remarkable ensemble of aquamarines. Placed off-centre to one side, the main stone, weighing 43.34 carats, drives a movement. A series of cabochon-cut opals wakes up the palette as it brings an organic note to the pre-dominantly geometric design.

The emerald-cut aquamarine has a remarkable carat-weight and a perfectly homogenous intense-blue colour. The set was handcrafted in 1,273 hours.

The design is inspired by the features of a snowflake when studied up-close.

Hili brooch in yellow gold, sculpted aventurine, diamonds

The Cartier workshops are home to a surprising greenhouse, where for over a century a multitude of jewelled specimens have bloomed: roses and orchids, edelweiss and iris, wisteria and lotus. It took 186 hours for Cartier to handcraft this brooch.

A glyptician artisan hand-sculpted a rough aventurine, opening it up to reveal a precious pistil, surrounded by curving petals appearing so fluid that they seem to be quivering under the effect of a gentle breeze.

The job of glyptician artisans is to transform raw material into splendid sculpted figures of animals or flowers, according to a style fostered by Cartier. Cartier is the only jeweller in the world with a glyptics workshop within the Maison, directed by its own experienced and recognised “Maître d’art”.

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