Volume. Texture. Color. They’re all alluring qualities in a jewel, but balancing the three presents a challenge — one that the master jewelers at Cartier Paris in the 1950s met with aplomb. And this toi et moi ring is a phenomenal example of their virtuosity.
Adding to its appeal is the fact that the toi et moi ring, a style that has gone in and out of fashion since the 18th century, happens to be a red-hot trend right now.
“Toi et moi is a symbol of love and friendship,” says Edoardo Grande, owner of Treasure Fine Jewelry, in Miami. “Classically, the rings had two precious gems of different colors, but in this case, the style is reinterpreted with two corals of slightly different sizes.”
Grande sees the jewel as “a work of modern sculpture that can even be appreciated resting on a table,” as well as a rare relic from a unique epoch in the brand’s history.
“After World War II, Europe was devastated, in its infrastructure and economically” he explains. “Cartier, as well as other jewelry houses, gave themselves to the task of offering products where the artistry of the piece replaced the luxury of the gems, since the money didn’t flow as before.”
As striking as the design is, with its robust craftsmanship and two vibrant Sardinian coral cabochons, Grande says it’s not a bespoke design. Rather, it had a very limited production, with possibly only six pieces ever made.
The “producer” in question — identified as Perry et Fils — adds to the jewel’s novelty. “This jewelry atelier was responsible for many important commissions by the major Parisian jewelry houses, such as Cartier, Boucheron and Van Cleef & Arpels,” says Grande, noting further that “the signature and the hallmarks themselves are a work of art. When a piece like this is completely signed with the maison’s name, the individual serial numbers, the maker’s maître cartouche and the French assay hallmarks, we can call it ‘completely perfect.’ ” Now, to find the perfect silk caftan and wedge heels to wear with it.