Cartier Tri Color Eighteen Karat Yellow White Rose Gold Clip on Earrings
About the Item
- Weight:8 g
- Dimensions:Height: 0.82 in (20.83 mm)Width: 0.14 in (3.56 mm)Depth: 0.7 in (17.78 mm)Diameter: 0.14 in (3.56 mm)Length: 0.82 in (20.83 mm)
- Place of Origin:France
- Date of Manufacture:20th Century
- Condition:Polished. Wear consistent with age and use.
- Seller Location:New York, NY
- Reference Number:Seller: A2781stDibs: LU1056317443362
The Art Deco movement was in full swing and the seductively opulent flapper style was at its peak when Cartier introduced its Trinity collection, a line of minimalist jewelry that now includes Trinity earrings. Although the line broke with the decorative trends in jewelry at the time — the era’s designers looked to African art, crafted geometrically rich diamond brooches and opted to set rings with colorful stones such as coral and turquoise — the Trinity earrings and other pieces in the collection are an example of French elegance, interlacing naturalism and classicism in a simple and timeless way.
Designed in 1924 by Louis Cartier (1875–1942), the grandson of the heritage jewelry house’s founder, the Trinity earrings share the same simple aesthetic as the tricolored Trinity ring. Like the ring's bands, the earrings consist of three connected hoops, each a different type of gold to represent the three phases of a relationship: the white stands for friendship, the pink for love and the yellow for fidelity. The Trinity collection may have debuted with the ring, its three bands forever joined in embrace, but in the decades since its original design, the ring has given way to a broader beloved series of Trinity jewels, including the Trinity necklace, Trinity wedding band, Trinity earrings and more.
While the original Trinity earrings are still in production and the most popular, variations on the motif have yielded a bold reshaping of the hoops, so much so that they’ve ended in a knot on occasion. The jewelry house has also introduced versions that outfit the three hoops with diamonds or colored gemstones. Some iterations are adorned with so many pavé diamonds that the metal beneath is barely visible.
While the Trinity knot itself has appeared in Irish jewelry and has roots in other cultures, Louis Cartier reportedly crafted the now classic and instantly recognizable Trinity ring at the request of his friend Jean Cocteau. The French poet, novelist and Surrealist filmmaker dreamed of Saturn’s rings in his slumber — some several hundred years after they were first observed by Galileo through his telescope — and hoped to see the otherworldly visions brought to life as jewelry. Cocteau was understandably impressed with the modern and richly symbolic accessory that followed.
Trinity earrings have been a staple of Cartier’s collection since they were added to the original, and marquee admirers such as Princess Diana and Gary Cooper contributed to the line’s fame. But thanks to Cocteau’s dream, the design has always had “star power” in the most literal sense.
For its extraordinary range of bracelets, watches, rings and other adornments, French luxury house Cartier is undeniably one of the most well known and internationally revered jewelers in the world among clients both existing and aspirational.
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 inspired by medieval chastity belts that transformed fine jewelry.
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.
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