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Cartier Art Deco Coral & Diamond Convertible Cloak Clasp London, circa 1925

$325,000

About

A cloak clasp convertible to clip brooches, each designed as a series of geometric shapes composed of coral batons, flat coral segments, and round diamonds, one clip slightly larger than the other, the clips combine with a chain of diamond and coral links to create the coat clasp; mounted in platinum, with original Cartier box • 102 round diamonds • Signed Cartier London, 3875 • Copy of the original Cartier drawing Cloaks have been in use since the start of civilization as a portable means for covering the body and keeping it warm. Even the earliest cloaks needed a simple clasp, a means of pining the material to the body, likely inspiring the first brooches. By the sixteenth century, cloaks had become fashionable status symbols that were cut, shaped, sewn, lined, and fastened with a brooch or chain. By the early twentieth century, great coats were more popular for daily use, but beautiful cloaks in velvet, silk, cashmere, and wool, such as the ones designed by Paul Poiret, were draped over elegant evening wear. This Cartier cloak clasp was designed as the perfect accessory for an elegant evening cloak. While the form of the cloak is steeped in history, this modern clasp was designed with the pure geometry favored in the Art Deco period. The jewel is essentially a massing of circle forms, from the use of round diamonds, to coral batons in cylinder form (extruded circles), and the use of semi-circles of both diamonds and coral. The original Cartier drawing demonstrates the precision of an engineer in creating the curves of this masterful jewel. One side of the clip is smaller than the other, but the considered placement of elements within the design creates a balance within the slight asymmetry. Created with versatility in mind, the clasp converts into two dress clips, one slightly larger than the other, that can be worn pinned to an elegant neckline or clipped to the waist or shoulder. This magnificent cloak clasp is the only known example of a convertible Cartier Art Deco cloak clasp and would be an important addition to any collection.

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About the Designer

Cartier

Perhaps 1847 was not the ideal time to open a new watchmaking and jewelry business, as the French Revolution was not kind to the aristocracy who could afford such luxuries. Nevertheless, it was the year Louis-François Cartier (1819–1904) — who was born into poverty — founded his eponymous empire, assuming control of the workshop of watchmaker Adolphe Picard, under whom he had previously been employed as an assistant. Of course, in the beginning, it was a relatively modest affair, but by the late 1850s, Cartier had its first royal client, Princess Mathilde Bonaparte, niece of Napoleon Bonaparte, who commissioned the jeweler to design brooches, earrings and other accessories.Under the leadership of Louis-François’s son, Alfred, who took over in 1874, business boomed. Royalty around the world wore Cartier pieces, including Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, the Maharaja of Patiala and King Edward VII, who had 27 tiaras made by the jewelry house for his coronation in 1902 and issued Cartier a royal warrant in 1904. (Today, the British royal family still dons Cartier pieces; Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, regularly sports a Ballon Bleu de Cartier watch.)Cartier’s golden years, however, began when Alfred introduced his three sons, Louis, Pierre and Jacques, to the business. The brothers expanded Cartier globally: Louis reigned in Paris, Pierre in New York and Jacques in London, ensuring their brand’s consistency at their branches across the world. The trio also brought in such talents as Charles Jacqueau and Jeanne Toussaint.One of Cartier’s earliest major successes was the Santos de Cartier watch — one of the world's first modern wristwatches for men. (Previously, a large number of people were using only pocket watches.) Louis designed the timepiece in 1904 for his friend, popular Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, who wanted to be able to check the time more easily while flying.Cartier’s other famous timepieces include the Tank watch, which was inspired by the linear form of military tanks during World War I, and the so-called mystery clocks. Invented by watchmaker and magician Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin and later crafted exclusively for Cartier in the house’s workshop by watchmaker Maurice Couët, the mystery clocks were so named because the integration of glass dials on which the clocks’ hands would seemingly float as well as structures that are hidden away within the base give the illusion that they operate without machinery.On the jewelry side of the business, Cartier’s internationally renowned offerings include the Tutti Frutti collection, which featured colorful carved gemstones inspired by Jacques’s trip to India and grew in popularity during the Art Deco years; the panthère motif, which has been incorporated into everything from brooches to rings; and the Love bracelet, a minimal, modernist locking bangle reportedly inspired by medieval chastity belts.While the Cartier family sold the business following the death of Pierre in 1964, the brand continues to innovate today, renewing old hits and creating new masterpieces. It’s certainly one of the most well known and internationally revered jewelers in the world among clients both existing and aspirational.On 1stDibs, find a growing collection of contemporary and vintage Cartier watches, engagement rings, necklaces and other accessories.
About the Seller
5 / 5
Located in New York, NY

Siegelson is a world-renowned gallery offering rare collectible jewels. Third-generation gem and jewelry dealer Lee Siegelson has been credited with bridging the gap between art and jewelry design, in the process transforming estate jewelry into a vibrant part of the luxury goods and collectibles world. Focusing on a piece’s design rat...

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