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  • Catalogue Essay

    Henri Picq was among the most prominent Parisian workshops that executed gem-set platinum jewellery for Cartier in the early 20th century through into the late 20s. They were known for their techinical supremacy in platinum treatment and exceptional finesse in realizing some of Cartier's pioneering designs at that time, such as the the first of the steel diadems in 1914 for the Romanian royals. Picq was also the responsible for the first Cartier 'Tutti Frutti' jewel, which was a bracelet in the form of an undulating branch of leaves and berries, incorporating carved stones and gemstone beads. This was exhibited at the infamous Paris Exposition Universelle in 1925 and marked the beginning of a chromatic feast in red, green and blue, which became the ultimate dream of every Cartier collector.

    The emergence of what is now patented as 'Tutti Frutti' stemmed from Jacques Cartier's travels to the Far East from 1909 onwards, in particular India, from where he forged relationships with Princes and Maharajas who are in possession of important gemstones. He brought back to Europe a large quantity of carved emeralds, rubies and sapphires, which were assembled in a polychromatic style on jewels that evoked exoticism of empires far far away. This bold approach, seen as highly unconventional at the time because of the clashes of colours, would later becoming a signature Cartier style. It is important to note that every Tutti Frutti jewel is unique, owing to the singular nature of the components and thus their composition. No two Tutti Frutti jewels are exactly the same.

    This brooch is particularly interesting for its asymmetrical layout, which was uncommon in the time of its production. Despite the irregularities of the carved gemstones, strict geometry was observed during the Art Deco period, especially when jewels come in pairs. The 'branches' on this brooch seem to mimic the organic nature of growth in a tree, some ending on flower buds (cabochons), others on blooming flowers (two fluted emerald beads).

    Completed with Henri Picq workshop mark (HP flanking an ace of spades) on both side of the clip brooches and the signature 'Cartier Paris', this double clip brooch is a superlative example of an iconic and unique Cartier masterpiece.

610

A Unique Art Deco Gem-set and Diamond 'Tutti Frutti' Double Clip Brooch, Henri Picq for Cartier Paris, Circa 1925

Signed Cartier Paris an numbered 0812
With maker's mark for Henri Picq

Estimate
HK$1,400,000 - 2,000,000 
$180,000-250,000

Sold for HK$2,125,000

Contact Specialist
Terry Chu
Head of Jewellery, Asia, Senior Director
+852 2318 2038

Jewels and Jadeite

Hong Kong Auction 28 May 2018