December 13, 2014
Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century
Denver Art Museum
100 W 14th Ave Pkwy
Denver, CO 80204
Fees: Non-member weekend with audio: $27, Non-member weekday with audio: $25; for member pricing and other discounts check the website
Hours: Tues-Thurs, Sat-Sun 10-5; Friday 10-8
Cartier was founded in Paris, France in 1847 by Louis Francois Cartier. The company remained family owned until 1964. Louis Francois Cartier’s grandsons, Louis, Pierre, and Jacques, who were responsible for making the brand recognizable world wide.
Cartier sold its jewels to royalty and movie stars and produced several different styles of clocks, vanity cases, and jewelry influenced by a variety of cultures. I was suprised to see the Asian Influence at the Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century exhibit at the Denver Art Museum.
What a treat for Denverites as Denver is the only US city where this exhibit will travel. It stays open until March 15th and is worth a visit. Crown jewels displayed at the beginning reflected the light so brightly, I couldn’t even snap a good photo.
I found a few favorites. One bracelet which I thought was ruby and diamond also included enamel and onyx. I was surprised to read about the extra gems and stopped to take a closer look at all the intricacies. So subtle and spectacular at the same time!
I also loved the Tutti Frutti line of jewels. How colorful and so detailed! One of the necklaces on display was worn by Daisy Fellowes, an American heiress to the Singer sewing machine, daughter of a French duke, and married to a French prince, known for her taste in fashion.
It was interesting to learn about the Mystery Clocks. The hands look as it they are floating and no operating mechanisms can be seen. It turns out each hand is enclosed into its own crystal disc. Each of the crystal discs turn, not the hands. Speaking of clocks, the first Cartier wristwatch was inspired by aviation as pocket watches were unreliable and impractical.
After the war, when metal and money was scarce, Cartier turned to using less expensive gem stones and gold. The designs were still amazing…sleek and bold!
Other items on display were Grace Kelly’s engagement ring along with a magnificent diamond necklace she used to wear as well as a ruby and diamond necklace worn by Liz Taylor. I’m so glad I was able to join Tanya and her family to see this exhibit. ETB
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