An Art Deco Emerald, Diamond and Platinum Brooch

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    • Cartier

    • A square cushion mixed-cut emerald, 11.29 carats
      Old European-cut diamonds
      Signed, platinum, length approximately 2.25 inches

    AGL Report: Colombian, traditional minor clarity treatment

  • Catalogue Essay

    By the turn of the 20th century, Cartier was already well established, offering a wide range of jewelry to their international clientele. The next two decades were marked by enormous growth and creativity as the desire for magnificent and splendid creations increased with the growing number of affluent patrons, newly moneyed tycoons, royalty and performers. The world was changing, and the evolution of design and fashion were deeply interwoven into this new modern realm.

    This vigorous growth was matched by expansion and the relocation of Cartier’s branches – the Paris office moved to a grander building at the apex of couture and jaoillierie. Three years later in 1902, the London office opened to cater to the English nobility, which coincided with numerous orders for the coronation of Edward VII. By 1909, the London office relocated to New Bond Street, and the New York branch opened to meet the needs of American clients and the increasing number of millionaires. Strategically planned and extended visits to Russia and India helped reach new clients by creating the opportunity to sell and buy jewelry, purchase ancient and rare artifacts, as well as assist the Maharajas with the transformation of their old jewelry into current fashion.

    Initially, the Paris workshops supplied both the London and New York offices until local workshops were established. Later, it was the Paris and London workshops that supplied the New York branch until approximately 1917. Unlike the London branch, which was supervised by English jewelers, the first New York workshop employed all French jewelers. Each country and workshop had a different system for signing their jewelry. The pieces created in New York bear only the Cartier signature in capital letters and numbers, as assay marks were not required.

    Advances in technology permitted a revolutionary change of style. Platinum, the new metal, gave lightness and flexibility, a perfect medium for the favored bows, wreaths and swags of belle époque colorless diamond and pearl set jewelry. Led by Cartier, these Louis XV inspired creations slowly gave way to a new vernacular in jewelry. Jewels of the art deco era were characterized by bold geometric patterns, color, texture and rich exoticism infused from Persian, Indian, Oriental, Russian and Egyptian influences.

    Parisian designer Charles Jacqueau was one of the pivotal figures at Cartier, responsible for this dynamic change of jewelry design. Jacqueau worked for more than twenty years alongside Louis Cartier. Together they spurred each other’s creativity, exploring beyond the formal constraints of design to create a fantastic new paradigm influenced by stimuli from exotic cultures. Indian and Persian miniatures inspired stylized plant patterns, as did the central medallion of Persian carpets. These forms would reappear abstracted and tempered by color and texture, sometimes further embellished with ancient artifacts.

    This diamond and emerald brooch is a rare and beautiful example of work by Cartier from this fertile and creative period. The outline of the brooch is Persian inspired. Perhaps it origins can be traced from Louis Cartier’s personal Persian miniature collection, which was then transformed by Jacqueau into a jewel. Alternatively, the brooch may have derived from any number of exhibitions in Paris on Islamic art. A drawing in pen and ink by Jacqueau, circa 1912, shows similar ideas for brooches. Two later sketches by Jacqueau, for a headdress with tassel, depicts this reoccurring emerald and diamond motif. Undoubtedly, this was not only a popular theme but a favorite color combination, which harkens to remodeling of Indian jewels that were dominated by important Colombian emeralds which had been collected in the 1700s.

    The exact date of purchase from Cartier New York is not known, although the brooch has remained in the family until today. It was most likely purchased by Peter Winchester Rouss, son of Charles Broadway Rouss of New York. According to family history this brooch originally belonged to Peter’s wife, Ellen Swan Rouss. Based on the design, mounting and cut of stones utilized in this impressive brooch, it may have been purchased to be worn on the occasion of marriage for one of their three children in 1916, 1918 or 1923.

    Charles Broadway Rouss was a self-made millionaire. Arriving in New York City after the Civil War, he built a successful international business as a merchant. In fact, the original building he erected in 1889 still stands and bears his name. Upon his death, Charles left his son a vast fortune and real estate, including his home at 632 Fifth Avenue, only one block south of the Plant Mansion, which was later sold to Cartier in a historic exchange for a natural pearl necklace.

    Both Charles Rouss and his son Peter Winchester Rouss were colorful men. Peter Winchester Rouss, was considered flamboyant, with a real thirst for speed and excitement, which manifested itself in horse racing and yachts. For example, the sale of his four-speed yachts, each titled Winchester, involved relationships with some of the most important names in New York society and naturally on Cartier’s ledger: Leeds, Astor, and Guggenheim.

    Brooches of this size and design reflected the current fashion. They were worn against a diaphanous column-form dress, pinned at the neckline or near the dropped waste, or alternatively on a hat. Few of these early American jewels produced by Cartier New York survive, which makes this a rare and beautiful example of the bygone era.

  • Maker Bio

    Cartier

    French

    With the Constitution of 1848 came a new standard for luxury in France. Founded one year prior by Louis-Francois Cartier, the house of Cartier was one of the first to use platinum in jewelry making. This incredibly expensive material became the stepping-stone for Cartier to experiment in form, mechanisms and attitude. It helped men move from pocket watches to wristwatches, effectively making the watch much more functional and prominent in a man's overall wardrobe.

    Cartier did not only touch on functionality. Inspired by a commissioned painting by George Barbier featuring a black panther at the feet of an elegantly bejeweled woman, Cartier began incorporating wild animals in his designs—most notably, Cartier Panthère rings, bangle bracelets and watches. Yet it wasn't until the late 1960s that the house of Cartier debuted their iconic yellow and rose gold LOVE collection, which includes the famous bracelet that only a special screwdriver can open. 

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Property from a Prominent New York Family

Cartier

An Art Deco Emerald, Diamond and Platinum Brooch

Estimate
$100,000 - 150,000 

sold for $112,500

Contact Specialist

Susan Abeles
Head of Department, Americas and Senior International Specialist
New York
+1 212 940 1383
sabeles@phillips.com

Jewels

New York Auction 7 June 2019