19th Anniversary

2019 Antiques & Fine Art 99 Fig. 10: A very rare Cartier 1940s platinum, diamond & cushion-shaped ruby brooch designed as a Flora design with 7.43 carats Ruby. Price realized $1,066,770US, November 2018. Image courtesy Sotheby’s, Geneva. increased competition among the timepiece manufacturing firms to produce the smallest types of movements needed for Cartier bracelet watches. Post-World War II: The Flora Motif In the aftermath of the turmoil of World War II, there was a search for a new sense of comfort as people recovered from the devastations of the war. Flowers became the imagery to which people frequently turned. The Cartier firm recognized this social and cultural reaction to the war and began to produce flora motif pieces in place of their carved fruit designs, such as their Tutti Frutti pieces, which had resonated with wealthy society members in the Roaring Twenties. The post-World War II flora motifs are among the rarest due to their extremely limited production and because they are the last of the creations directly produced by a living Cartier descendant (Fig. 9). The flora motif designs stand out due to their extreme likeness to real flowers in their three- dimensional designs and sizes (Fig. 10) and as they were commissioned for Cartier’s most exclusive clients of the time and designed only in platinum. At the conclusion of the war, there was only one surviving Cartier brother, Pierre, to lead the firm into the new era. From this point on, the Cartier family no longer had direct involvement with design. In addition, platinum practically vanished from circulation in this period, leading the Cartier firm to abandon objects made in platinum. There are only a very few examples of platinum Cartier pieces from this era, with exceptions being made only for orders placed by special clients, such as the Duchess of Windsor, Grace Kelly, Barbara Hutton and Elizabeth Taylor. Jason Blake Nichinson is an art historian from UCLA and curator specializing in gemstone timepieces & jewelry from 1890 –1970 for Ye Olde Timekeepers, Inc. (yeoldetimekeepers.com) . 1. Judy Rudeo. Cartier: 1900–1939 (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1999).