Headlined by an ensemble cast, including Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Rihanna and more, the all-female heist flick Ocean’s 8 brought in an impressive US$44 million in the US over its opening weekend in early June. But in this spin-off to the Ocean’s trilogy of crime comedies, it could be said that what truly — excuse the pun — stole the show was the magnificent Jeanne Toussaint necklace at the centre of the plot, a creation that Bullock and her band of thieves set out to nick during the annual Met Gala.
Specially created by the film’s exclusive jewellery partner, Cartier, the work of art is named after its creative director in the 1930s — Jeanne Toussaint, who was known for her fondness for the opulent style of jewellery beloved by Indian royals, and is credited with solidifying the panther’s place as the symbol of the House.
Fit For A Maharaja
The design of the Jeanne Toussaint necklace has strong links to Cartier’s heritage, too. It’s based on a similar piece Jacques Cartier drew up in 1931 for the Maharaja of Nawanagar, a necklace the former called “a superb realisation of a connoisseur’s dream”, which was set with a cascade of coloured diamonds including the 136.25-ct blue-white Queen of Holland diamond.
Scaled Down — In Size And Materials Used
Though the 1931 jewel no longer exists, archival drawings and photographs were referred to and adapted, with the piece (originally intended for a man) sized down by 15 to 20 percent to fit Hathaway’s frame. And despite being described in Ocean’s 8 as a diamond necklace worth US$150 million, the actual item was made out of white gold and set with zirconium oxide, designed to withstand frequent handling during filming.
Eight Weeks To Birth The Beauty
Craftsmen in Cartier’s high jewellery workshops on Rue de la Paix in Paris completed the Jeanne Toussaint necklace in just eight weeks, after which it was flown to New York to join the Ocean’s 8 cast.
On top of providing the Jeanne Toussaint necklace, Cartier also loaned Cartier Collection pieces, current high jewellery, watches and accessories to the cast and the host of celebrities who made cameos. The Cartier Mansion on Fifth Avenue received substantial screen time as well — filming was done over two days in its salons.
Ocean’s 8 is far from Cartier’s first collaboration with movie projects. For the 2014 biopic Grace of Monaco starring Nicole Kidman, the jeweller created five replicas of Grace Kelly’s best-loved jewels from the brand — her engagement ring (Kelly proudly wore her 10.47-ct emerald-cut diamond Cartier engagement ring on the set of the 1956 musical comedy High Society), two figurative brooches, a tiara and a necklace. And for the 1974 version of The Great Gatsby starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow, Cartier stepped in with art deco historical pieces and inspired reproductions, including a Love Birds brooch, a pearl-and-emerald sautoir, and an unmissable marquise-cut engagement ring.
With this much star power on screen, only heavyweight jewellery with substantial visual impact can hold its own.