A rare | take you to see the jewelry exhibition in cooperation between Cartier and the Forbidden City

Recently, Cartier and the Palace Museum jointly created a super trench jewelry exhibition – “Beyond the Boundary, Craftsmanship and Restoration Special Exhibition”, the scene is full of treasures, any piece is worth a lot.

This exhibition presents more than 800 artistic treasures, with “Skill” as the main line, through three exhibition halls to interpret three themes – “Inspiration China”, “Style Witness” and “Time Technique”, tracing Cartier’s relationship with China, presenting the inspiration and integration of Chinese and Western culture and art.

“Beyond Boundaries: Cartier Palace Museum Craftsmanship and Restoration Special Exhibition”, “Inspiration China” section

“Beyond the Boundary: Cartier Palace Museum Craftsmanship and Restoration Special Exhibition”, “Style Witness” section

“Beyond the Boundary: Cartier Palace Museum Craftsmanship and Restoration Special Exhibition”, “Techniques of Time” section

Most of the works exhibited come from the Cartier Collection and the Palace Museum, as well as international museums, art institutions, royal families and personal collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Gallery of Australia, the Qatar Museum, and the International Watch Museum in La Chathar-des-Fonds, Switzerland.

Testimonials · Noon Gate Main Hall

Among the three distinctive exhibition halls, the exhibition hall with the most couture jewelry characteristics and reference significance is the “Style Witness Noon Gate Main Hall”. In the early 20th century, Cartier became increasingly favored by the royal family and the European aristocracy, receiving a large number of commissions and the authorization of royal suppliers. The “Testimonials” pavilion focuses on Cartier’s bespoke jewelry and crowns for European royalty and aristocracy.

Going back in the context of time and history, royal families in Europe and around the world maintained strong relationships with Cartier. Each display window is plastered with the national emblem and name of the owner, and those ornate objects, although close at hand, have sat on the throne of power in history.

From the design point of view:

Cartier has never been a conservative jewelry brand, and since the third generation of head Louis Cartier set a new creative approach for the brand – “create a specific and iconic design language”, Cartier’s innovative thinking of design has been released.

This sapphire was owned by Empress Tsarina Maria Feodorovna (1847-1928), wife of Tsar Alexander III and mother of Tsar Nicholas II (1868-1918).

Materials: Platinum, diamonds, rose-cut cushion-cut Sri Lankan sapphire (197.80ct)

Design: The sapphire on the bracelet can be removed and replaced with 1 engraved colorless crystal to wear

Cartier’s innovative thinking was evident in the choice of a woman outside the family, Jean Toussaint, to intervene in the operation of the brand. As a legendary woman, Jean Toussaint also created the “Cheetah Collection”, which still has a profound impact on the Cartier brand today. The maverick soul, impeccable taste and dedication to innovation make her a symbol of Cartier’s brand values.

This pendant was a surprise to King Ferdinand I of Romania for his Queen Mary’s 46th birthday in 1921 – a long diamond necklace with a 478-carat sapphire pendant hanging from a beautiful buckle. A year later, the monarch couple held their coronation, and this gemstone, a symbol of wisdom and fidelity, shined in the ceremony.

Material: Platinum, 478 carats of sapphire

Design: Simple and generous, perfectly highlighting the beauty of sapphire

Cartier has been actively exploring the design path of East and West, and the theme of this exhibition further explains its design concept: “Beyond boundaries, infinite possibilities”. Pierre Renault, director of Cartier style and heritage, praised the breadth and depth of Chinese characters. The determination of the theme of this exhibition also demonstrates Cartier’s determination to connect with the Chinese market in the fields of culture and values.

From the process point of view:

In the West, the crown is a symbol of power, and this exhibition concentrates twenty-nine crowns, representing the style of Cartier’s crown in different periods, each of which is beautiful, with the British and Belgian crowns being the most striking.

Awarded by Cartier to the Marquise of Essex in 1902, this scroll-style crown survives with great difficulty. In 1990, the tiara was purchased by a gem dealer from Christie’s in London, who originally wanted to remove the gems from the tiara. At Cartier’s request, the merchant agreed to resell it to the Cartier Collection. As a result, the Cartier archives include a thank-you letter from the granddaughter of the Marquise de Essex, which has become a story that spans the centuries.

Materials: silver, gold, cushion-cut and round vintage and rose-cut diamonds

Design: Seed setting to achieve a beautiful visual effect while fully setting off the colorful fire of the diamond from different angles

With the change of wealth and the rise of the new class at the beginning of the last century, the new elites of the Western upper class also have special needs for custom jewelry, Cartier in the design and craftsmanship, more reference to the customer’s ideas and concepts, some jewelry is even completed by designers and customers, which coincides with the current domestic market.

The world-famous Bhatiyala necklace, which Cartier ordered in 1928 for Sir Bhupindra Singh, King of Batiara, India. By the time Cartier bought back the necklace in 1998, the biggest gemstones were already missing. When it was not possible to recover the rough gemstones, including the 234.65 ct De Beers yellow diamond, it was decided to use synthetic diamonds to complete the restoration.

Materials: Platinum, vintage and rose-cut diamonds (chain and buckle), 1 cushion yellow cubic zirconia, 4 white cubic zirconia, 13 white topaz, 2 synthetic rubies, 1 citrine, 1 citrine

Design: The matching and color collision of a variety of gemstones appear harmonious and unified, and the layered wearing design can be more in line with the customizer’s dressing style

In Cartier’s 172-year operating history, there were two world wars that brought about permanent changes to the world order. These diamond brooches, created during the war years, despite their small size, often became vehicles for expressing patriotic feelings, expressing military themes or conveying special messages.

Feedback from inside and outside the industry

From the beautiful photographs taken at the exhibition, it is not difficult to see that this exhibition brings together Cartier’s many artistic treasures using many types of gemstones. Among them, large carats, high-quality diamonds, emeralds, red sapphires have been widely used, attracting many jewelry practitioners, enthusiasts, fashion practitioners and so on to visit and learn.

Amgen Jewelry founder Amgen

As a century-old jewelry company, Cartier’s rich heritage is amazing. Its control of the design style of haute couture jewelry, the excellence of the production process, and the perfect presentation of the finished product effect are all worthy of reference for domestic jewelers. That’s why I came specifically to see this exhibition, where I also saw a lot of fine jewelry that I used to only see in magazines.

When I saw the larger Kashmir sapphire leopard brooch, I felt a strong visual impact and shock. Although its center stone is not perfect, the large carat center stone is cleverly designed to give a strong sensory stimulation. In addition, Cartier’s crown design is also very beautiful, each crown expresses the spiritual core of luxury, authority and other spiritual cores, but also conveys different design concepts and aesthetic feelings, which shows the designer’s ingenious intentions.

Other than that, I was impressed by the sapphires and emeralds that Cartier cleverly used. Among Cartier’s many classic haute couture jewelry, these two gemstones are very large in grain and have excellent color and clarity. I was particularly impressed by Cartier’s ability to design large diamond/color treasure products. No matter how luxurious the necklace/brooch is, the details can be designed very well.

I myself am very fond of jewelry styles from different periods, including garland style, Egyptian style, Art Deco style and many more. Cartier has different styles in different periods, they will use a lot of contrasts, different collocations and so on. I believe that the domestic market will slowly accept such visually impactful designs and collocations.

The personalized consumption awareness of domestic consumers is awakening, and they have begun to pursue distinctive jewelry products. This requires us to put more thought into the design to make up for the relevant shortcomings. Good gemstone + good design + good craftsmanship is my pursuit.

Jewelry lover little C

From 2009 to 2019, Cartier participated in two exhibitions in conjunction with the Palace Museum. In my impression, this exhibition has added a lot of large gemstones that have never been seen before, as well as very luxurious designs. What interests me the most about this exhibition is “the collision and fusion of Chinese and Western cultures”, the connection and difference between Chinese elements and Cartier design, which struck me.

For the design of the fusion of Chinese and Western cultures, what impressed me the most in this exhibition was a jadeite necklace with the beauty of Chinese and Western fusion. Its main body is high-quality jadeite, and the clasp is made of ruby, diamond, karat gold, delicate and interesting.

This jadeite necklace, made of 27 jadeite beads between 15.4 and 19.2 mm in diameter, was sold by Cartier in 1934 to Barbara Hutton, the granddaughter of the founder of the Woolworths retail chain. Barbara Hutton loved palatial jewelry and was one of Cartier’s most loyal customers.

Barbara Hutton wearing this emerald necklace

For me, the most important factor in buying a piece of jewelry is whether the design can achieve a refined and personal beauty. Therefore, when I buy jewelry myself, I will also be more inclined to buy loose stones and then customize, hoping to make more delicate and have a stronger sense of design.

Author’s note:

As one of the oldest century-old brands, Cartier has a lot of jaw-dropping heritage. When visiting its stunning collection of classic haute couture jewelry, we should also not overlook the constant changes in Cartier’s development over the past 172 years. In the three halls of “Beyond Boundaries: Cartier Palace Museum’s Craft and Restoration Exhibition”, the exhibits of varied styles and rich gemstones also tell us that the only constant for a jewelry brand is breakthrough and change.

Gemstones are not just precious treasures to us, they carry much more. It can be branded with the imprint of “history” to commemorate major historical events in the context of different eras in which it was created, sold or worn, and become a witness to the vicissitudes of the times. While learning the unique design and craftsmanship of Cartier haute couture jewelry, we should also understand the core of its brand that seeks innovation and change. Beyond the boundary, the possibilities are endless, and there is much more we can do.

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