For all you ladies out there - and you gentlemen who enjoy a handicraft well executed - here’s a brief trip through the history of the famed jeweler, Cartier.
“Cartier - Style and History” is small by Grand Palais standards. It takes up just part of one level: the Salon d’Honneur. But what it lacks in size it makes up for in sparkle.
As jewels are small, compared to canvases, over 600 pieces are on display. That’s just a smattering of all the creations that built Cartier’s reputation as “jeweler to kings”. And queens. And the wealthy.
|Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor|
In addition to the wristwatch, these showcases are gorged with the jewels of some of the world’s most famous women. Kate Middleton wore a Cartier tiara on her wedding day. And of course Liz Taylor, wearing the huge diamond Richard Burton bought for her. French poet cum playwright cum filmmaker Jean Cocteau called upon Cartier to bejewel him a ceremonial sword for his entry into the illustrious Académie Française.
|Princess Grace's tiara|
The beloved Princess Grace of Monaco has an entire showcase, complete with her official portrait wearing the jewels you can see to the left and right. Prior to Grace came the infamous American divorcee Wallis Simpson, by whom scandal arrived in the United Kingdom when she told King Edward VIII to choose between her and the throne. He abdicated. And she got a showcase full of Cartier “trinkets”, including the jeweler’s trademark panther.
Among the lesser-knowns included in this show is Daisy Fellowes, who inherited Grandpa Singer’s sewing machine fortune and seems to have spent a good deal of it chez Cartier.
|Mexican actress Maria Felix|
Although the Cartier dynasty’s control ended in 1972, the generations of jewelers who worked their magic are on view in Paris, where it all started.
There’s a half-hour video about the show. It’s in French but there are subtitles in English. And visuals. Lots and lots of visuals.
Cartier - Le style et l’histoire
3 avenue du Général-Eisenhower
75008 - Paris
Métro: Champs-Elysées - Clemenceau
until February 16, 2014
12€ & 9€
Daily except Tuesdays and holidays
10 am to 8 pm (Sun & Mon)
10 am to 10 pm (Wed-Sat)