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Cartier Paris Indian-Inspired Necklace and Clip Earrings


Dating from the mid to late 1950s, this gold and diamond necklace and earclip suite was created by Cartier Paris. Inspired by the form of the traditional Indian “bib” jewels, this necklace is formed of five articulated, graduating triangular pendants set with diamond florets and applied wire twist, interspersed with diamond floret links and completed by shaped bars and braided chain resembling traditional Indian cord. Complemented by flexible earrings offering a brilliant cascade of diamonds, and sitting high at the base of the neck, this warm gold, sparkling necklace creates a radiant setting for the face and eyes.

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  • Product Details
  • Curator's Notes

Item #: STE-20178
Artist: Cartier Paris
Country: France
Circa: 1955-1958
Size:  Necklace: 13.00” length; Clip earrings: 2.50” length x 1.25” width
Materials: 186 round-cut diamonds with a G/H clarity and VS color grade (approximate total weight Necklace 15.15 carats Earrings 4.50 carats); 18K gold; with Cartier box
Signed: Necklace: Cartier France, no. HSA 1197, French assay marks, 18K; Clip Earrings: Cartier France, no. HSA 1199
Literature: A turquoise and diamond “pointed bib” necklace from 1955 is illustrated in Amazing Cartier: Jewelry Design Since 1937, by Nadine Coleno, Paris: Flammarion, 2009, pp. 189-190. A pointed bib necklace in rubies and diamonds, owned by Elizabeth Taylor, is illustrated in Cartier and America, by Martin Chapman, San Francisco: Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and Delmonico Books, 2009.

Cartier has turned to Indian art for inspiration since Louis Cartier applied his genius to the reinvention of his family firm as a global design powerhouse. In the 1910s and 1920s, his younger brother Jacques Cartier travelled frequently to India, establishing relationships with Indian princes who were willing partners in and contributors to the firm’s profound renewal of western jewelry design. In 1911, Jacques returned from India with extensive notes, sketches, and photographs, as well as gems and jewelry. Working from these models and design ideas, Cartier offered its first exhibition in the “Hindu” style in 1913. These jewels, decorated with enamels and set with carved gems, were the beginning of a cross-cultural Indian/French exchange that is ongoing at Cartier. In the mid-1950s, Cartier experimented with a number of Indian-inspired models in the pointed bib style, including a turquoise and diamond necklace made in 1955, and, most notably, a ruby and diamond model purchased by Mike Todd for Elizabeth Taylor in 1958. 

This 1950s modernist necklace reflects an interpretation of the Indian bib form that, true to the period, emphasizes sleek, lyrical abstraction. Juxtaposing textured wire and polished fields of smooth gold, the designers created a sense of lightness and energy. Cartier’s use of plaited gold wire in this period, whether in links, cords, threads and meshes, reflects the firm’s response to the prevalence of the dynamic line in abstract art by modernists such as Giacometti, Calder and Pollock.