Edward VII’s accession the British throne in 1901 marked the advent of the Belle Epoque or “beautiful era”, a time when elegance was valued above all else in fashion and jewellery and the moneyed classes indulged in magnificent pieces to express their wealth.
As one of the pre-eminent jewellers of the period selling to the elites of Paris, New York and London, no firm came to epitomise more the craftsmanship of this period than Cartier.
Their name is still considered the Rolls-Royce of the industry and their craftsmanship and inventiveness was at its peak in the Art Deco years of 1920-1935.
Discovering two classic examples of their jewellery in a Swiss bank in 2010 was a spine-tingling moment and, despite the fact that neither this fabulous diamond tassel brooch pendant nor the rectangular panel brooch – which had perhaps even been part of one magnificent design in the past – carried the Cartier signature, there was no doubt as to their origin.
Having received an affidavit from the Cartier archive in Geneva, both were sold to the very first overseas collector we approached, a clear indicator of the passion that high quality pieces from the master craftsmen of this wonderful era still inspires.