A new Panthère de Cartier collection – a 56-piece trove of pendants, rings, bracelets and necklaces – has been unveiled to mark the 100th anniversary of the French maison's iconic motif.
A manifestation of Cartier’s now-legendary panthère first appeared on a watch in 1914, and is believed to have been inspired by Louis Cartier’s muse, Jeanne Toussaint.
When, almost two decades later, Toussaint – a woman described as “original, creative and demanding” – became Cartier’s high-jewellery creative director, she took the feline figure forward, step by precious step.
In 1948, the Duchess of Windsor was the first of a star-spangled dynasty for whom Cartier designed an onyx-spotted diamond panthère, in that case on a 116.74-carat emerald cabochon. Barbara Hutton, Princess Nina Aga Khan, Daisy Fellowes and María Félix followed.
When it was created a century ago, the panthère design was something of a pioneer – inaugurating the use of flecking in jewellery. It instantly became more than just an expensive jewel by fusing its fiery and elegant character with that of its half-feminine, half-feline wearer.
While this new collection focuses on the original art deco inspiration, it betters itself with the marvels of technology. Each piece starts off with a three-dimensional wax rendering of the well-studied initial sketch. To recreate a panthère’s fur, Cartier’s craftsmen encircle the embedded diamonds with gold thread, expertly folded within the stone through a technique exclusive to the brand. The fire, sophistication and general fabulousness, of course, remain.
The end result is a sparkling collection of graphic jewellery that pays homage to that century-old panthère-spot-motif wristwatch.