Filed under: Jewelry
You'd think with the nearly 40 pictures in the gallery below that you might have seen everything at the Cartier and America exhibit without ever having to trek to San Francisco. You'd be wrong or rather I was wrong and am very glad I made the journey. Tucked down on the lower level of the Legion of Honor Museum is what could be the most comprehensive collection of Cartier pieces ever gathered. The multi-room exhibit is a love letter to the Cartier brand and its legacy of quality and ingenuity.
The dazzling tiaras and gobstobber diamond rings are no surprise but this exhibit has other surprises in store. The displays go beyond just jewelry, there are also watches, cigarette cases (including one designed to look like an envelope complete with enamel stamp, a gift from Winston Churchill to his son), hairbrushes, tiny mignonette clocks and even a gold version of a lunar landing module. Pieces belonging to some of the women with the wherewithal to own custom Cartier pieces are shown. Doris Duke's diamonds, Elizabeth Taylor's ruby and diamond parure, Grace Kelly's ladylike pieces, Barbara Hutton's famous Cartier tiger pin and Maria Felix's articulated serpent necklace are just some of the showier treasures. In 1968 Felix commissioned the necklace from Cartier Paris. Felix's serpent necklace is truly amazing. It is thicker than a real snake and has a 178 carats of diamonds along the top and a colorful enameled underbelly meant to protect the wearer from the scratch of the stones. Felix also commissioned a detachable double crocodile necklace which is shown in the Cartier exhibit.
Gallery: Cartier and America