Over 300 high jewellery creations from Cartier’s latest Beautés du Monde collection – a sparkling tribute to the natural and man-made beauty of the world around us – along with several priceless pieces from the maison’s archives made their way to Bangkok last month, making it the biggest collection of Cartier high jewellery ever seen in the kingdom!
(Hero image: Tutti Frutti Sambhal Necklace from the Beautés du Monde Collection)
First launched in June last year at the prestigious Palacio de Liria in Madrid – the residence of the XIX Duke of Alba, the head of one of Spain’s most important aristocratic families – the Beautés du Monde collection references many of Cartier’s signature codes, with the theme serving as an ode to the glory of our outer world – from the exquisite beauty of nature to the magnificence of man-made, architectural marvels. From Art Deco-inspired geometric lines and shapes to the layering of black onyx and diamonds alongside colourful gemstones and precious materials like coral, the collection is a dazzling display of virtuosity and savoir-faire, with a fantastical take on many animal motifs that make up Cartier’s fabled ‘bestiary’ – like the panther, the snake, and the zebra – finding a place in the spotlight, too.
Seeing the beauty of the world, preserving it, and above all, enriching it, are values that have continuously influenced Cartier’s creative philosophy. Beautés du Monde proudly continues this tradition – a testament to a fascination with the diversity of beauty that is so dear to the maison. Recreated in stylised forms and in eye-catching colour combinations, the themes of this new collection take on a dazzling new light with creations that also reference abstract elements, like the form of a snake, and an iguana (Iwana Necklace) that’s rendered as a geometric lattice of pavéd diamonds and emeralds, representing its textured skin. Three striking Colombian emeralds weighing 43.45 carats form the centre of the piece, each with a slightly pointed four-sided cut to evoke the reptile’s dorsal spines.
Undoubtedly one of the biggest showstoppers of the collection seen in Bangkok, the spectacular Iwana Necklace with its three central, uniquely shaped Colombian emeralds – cabochon-cut hexagons with pronounced edges – multiply into a weave of openwork triangular motifs, set or pavéd with diamonds and emeralds. Connected by tiny metal rings, these elements create a highly flexible and comfortable (to wear) necklace that’s the result of the finest jewellery-making expertise.
A legendary design that dates to the 1920s – characterised by diamonds and carved and beaded sapphires, rubies, and emeralds – the Tutti Frutti creations are emblematic of Cartier’s style. A new iteration, the Tutti Frutti Sambhal Necklace, is included in Beautés du Monde, featuring exquisitely carved berries and leaves arranged in strands above a jaw-dropping 59.2 carat blue sapphire. The sheer brilliance of these two creations and the collection’s central theme are also reflected in every other item that was on display. As is often the case with Cartier, the idea is not to imitate nature, but rather to suggest and convey an impression of it through an abstract composition.
Following its initial launch in Spain last year and with one subsequent stopover in Shanghai, Bangkok is only the third city in the world to be graced by the Beautés du Monde exhibition. It served as a window into the 176-year heritage of Cartier – seeing the beauty of the world, preserving and and enriching it, from the time of Louis Cartier and his brothers, who travelled extensively, took inspiration from different cultures, and translated them into unique designs. The exhibition unfolded across six themed rooms, with scenography designed by influential Spanish artist Jaime Hayon (also responsible for the Palacio de Liria event in Madrid).
The Thai Patrimony Room was particularly close to heart. A sense of pride in heritage is something the maison has in common with Thailand, a nation whose people are united by a shared pride in their singular culture. Unique to the Bangkok exhibition, the Thai Patrimony Room featured a contemporary art installation by renowned Thai designer Saran Yen Panya, into which exceptional pieces from the historical Cartier Collection were meaningfully incorporated. Flown in especially for the event, these pieces count among the more than 3,000 items that Cartier has reacquired over the years for its archive, and which constitute a unique testimony to its style and creativity.
Beyond this homage to heritage, highlights of the exhibition rooms included three thematic salons (World Wildlife, Mineral World and Cultural World) where over 300 creations from the Beautés du Monde collection were on display, including necklaces and sautoirs, brooches and pins, bracelets, and rings. Several of the jewellery pieces were transformable – another hallmark of Cartier’s unique savoir-faire. Oh what a beautiful word, indeed.