‘The jewelry was glorious, rippling red on blue like a painting’ – Dame Elizabeth Taylor 

Today the National Gallery of Australia previewed the glitz and glamour of the forthcoming blockbuster, Cartier: The Exhibition, with a sneak preview of several works from the Cartier Collection that will go on display in Australia for the first time in March 2018.

Pierre Rainero, Image, Style and Heritage Director, Cartier, joined Gerard Vaughan, NGA Director to showcase exquisite jewellery from the preeminent French jewellery house at the NGA in Canberra.

‘Jewels of spectacular calibre and size, amongst the most important in the world, magnificently set by Cartier’s renowned craftsmen will be exhibited only in Canberra,’ said Gerard Vaughan, NGA Director. ‘It is a collection of immeasurable quality and value, the likes of which have never been seen in this country before, and may never be again. Years of research and gentle persuasion will deliver an unforgettable experience for Australians.’

‘Cartier represents the poetic amalgamation of art, passion and style. Jewellery is a language of love, and this exhibition, organized by the NGA, represents a gift of love to the Australian people,’ said Pierre Rainero, Image, Style and Heritage Director, Cartier.

The unmissable Cartier: The Exhibition (March 30—22 July) features more than 300 examples of masterpieces by Cartier, charting the prestigious Paris jewellery house throughout 20th century history. The exhibition will provide a window into the intimate world of Cartier’s famous international clients, including royalty, aristocrats and global socialites, to movie stars like Elizabeth Taylor whose platinum, gold and Burmese ruby necklace (1951) is synonymous with the iconic jeweller.

The exclusive exhibition features pieces from turn-of-the-century opera star Dame Nellie Melba—Australia’s first global superstar—who was a major client of the Maison Cartier, which supplied other incredibly intricate ‘garland-style’ jewellery popular with European aristocracy.

Art Deco swept the world in the 1920s and Cartier’s designs led the way with its innovative style, such as the Duchess of Windsor’s trend-setting Flamingo brooch (1940) and original ‘It Girl’ Daisy Fellowes’ Tutti Frutti necklace (1936). Their spectacular designs took cues from sources around the world: including East Asia, India and Ancient Egypt. Cartier combined these influences into some of their most exotic jewellery designs.

During the Age of Glamour of 1930s to 1960s, the social, political and historic events demanded a new approach from the agile Cartier designers. That creativity continued with seminal femme fatale María Félix’s flamboyant Crocodile necklace (1975).

Central to the NGA’s Cartier exhibition is a group of beautiful items from the Royal collection, including a selection of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s personal favourites. Even the Queen’s Halo Tiara which she leant to Kate Middleton for her wedding to HRH Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, will be on display in Canberra.

The exhibition will also include many items that belonged to an array of European monarchs who were amongst Cartier’s most valued clients, including Her Serene Highness Princess Grace of Monaco whose 10.48-carat diamond engagement ring (1956) was made by Cartier Paris.

Cartier is credited with creating the modern wristwatch made popular by some of the world’s leading men. A variety of the Maison Cartier’s iconic watch designs are shown in the context of other ingenious items designed specifically for men. Insight into the inner workings of these intricate, ground-breaking designs is also explored through the workshop space.

The NGA exhibition demonstrates Cartier’s flexibility as it continues to be the purveyor of innovation and style, building a contemporary bridge from its iconic past into the future.

Cartier: The Exhibition opens 30 March until 22 July. Tickets available from Ticketek.

Exhibition organised in association with the Denver Art Museum.

Special thanks to our Strategic Partner, Visit Canberra, our Major Partner, Qantas, Supporting Partner Val Morgan and our Media Partners, Vogue, The Saturday Paper, The Monthly. Win TV, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Canberra Times.

This exhibition would not be possible without Exhibition Patrons Kay Bryan, Krystyna Campbell-Pretty, The Hon Ashley Dawson-Damer AM, Paula Fox AO, Fiona Martin-Weber and Tom Hayward, and Lady Potter AC.

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Cartier Paris Two crocodile brooches 1975 gold, 1023 brilliant-cut fancy intense yellow diamonds, two navette-shaped emerald cabochons, 1060 emeralds, two ruby cabochons 30 cm and 27 cm (l. each) Collection Cartier © Cartier Photo: Nick Welsh

Cartier Paris
Two crocodile brooches 1975
gold, 1023 brilliant-cut fancy intense yellow diamonds,
two navette-shaped emerald cabochons,
1060 emeralds, two ruby cabochons
30 cm and 27 cm (l. each)
Collection Cartier © Cartier
Photo: Nick Welsh

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