Cartier: style, history and Jeanne Toussaint


Get me to Paris and fast! Forget the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, the only luxury trinkets I want to see this month are safely ensconced in the Grand Palais for the just-opened Cartier. Style and History exhibition.

Amongst the 600-odd pieces of jewellery and 300 contextual objects (paintings, dresses, archive documents – oh my!) on display at this exhibition, there’s a focus on Jeanne Toussaint. Cartier’s head of accessories and later director of jewellery, her bold and clever work has been frequently referenced by modern jewellers.

This 1944 singing uncaged bird brooch represents the liberation of France:

A 1925 gold, black and white enamel cigarette case. The interior has a compartment for cigarettes (fitted with a mirror) and one for matches. The lid opens automatically when the push-pieces are pressed:
Cartier-Style-and-History-Grand-Palais- 1925-lighterJeanne- Toussaint

In 1949, Cartier Paris transformed a 1929 vanity case into a cigarette case in gold and platinum set with diamonds and inlaid with mother-of-pearl parquetry. The case was bought by Louis Cartier and presented to Jeanne Toussaint. There’s clearly only one reason to smoke these days and that’s to stash your fags in a box like this…
Cartier-Style-and-History-Grand-Palais-1929-vanity -case

This 1949 pin brooch in gold, onyx, rubies and diamonds represents a bow and quiver…

Cartier: Style and History  is at the Grand Palais, Paris until 16th February 2014

Images credits:
V. Wulverych, Cartier Collection © Cartier [caged bird]
N. Welsh, Cartier Collection © Cartier [lighter, bow and quiver brooch]
N. Herrmann, Cartier Collection © Cartier [cigarette case]