The 4Cs of diamonds were drilled in my head during school: Color, Cut, Clarity and Carat. The 5th C when it comes to diamonds on my list is Cartier. Now showing through May 9th at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco is Cartier and America. If you want a little extra twinkle in your eye, put this show on your must-see list. I wandered in amazement through the museum taking in every gorgeous gem accompanied by the audio tour. Make sure to allow yourself enough time to see the entire exhibit since the collection is vast and extremely diverse.
On display are sketches from the design process showing different jeweled options for clients and the multiple edits required to create the perfect piece. During a video presentation showing the making of a necklace, a young patron exclaimed "It takes all that work for just one piece of that necklace? That must be expensive!"
The craftsmanship is artwork and sometimes you simply cannot put a price on art. While many are familiar with Cartier's Art Deco style, a plethora of items are on display such as their famous Mystery Clocks and elaborate stomacher brooches. For the inner princess, tiaras sparkle and shine even when blackened steel is incorporated in the design. Known to serve royalty and celebrities, Cartier created accessories perfect for the gal on the go such as the Motorist Necessaire circa 1917: a wooden box outfitted with a clock on the outside containing a mirror, scent bottles, a notebook and pens. Baubles from the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Princess Grace of Monaco hang in multi-carat splendor.While I fancied an array of items, several showstoppers stand out in my mind. The brightly colored gems and platinum settings of the Tutti Fruitti designs were favored by Mrs. Cole Porter and they definitely sang to me too. Expanding rock crystal and diamond bracelets from 1930 worn by Gloria Swanson and seen in the movie Sunset Boulevard looked just as current and wearable decades later. An orchid necklace made of beryl, pink sapphires, diamonds, and platinum fills my dreams at night thanks to the Legion of Honor and Cartier in America.
Cartier and America is on display through May 9th, 2010 at the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco located at 34th Avenue and Clement Street. For more information visit www.famsf.org
(Image by Nick Welsh, Cartier Collection)
Avelinda Garcia also writes at Superstylin*