Gloria Swanson wearing her stunning Cartier bracelets / Cartier Archives © Cartier
This dazzling necklace was made for the Maharaja of Patiala / Cartier Collection © Cartier
Princess Marie Bonaparte wearing a Cartier diadem in diamonds and platinum / Cartier Archives © Cartier
More than 360 items, including jewellery, watches and precious objets d'art belonging to members of the international aristocracy and Hollywood stars, have been gathered together under the title The Power of Style in an exhibition that explores and celebrates the Cartier style. That style is based on discipline, spirit and originality, and synthesises jeweller's skill with the aspirations of the firm's clientele, the world's most elegant – and powerful – men and women.
Back in 1901, Edward VII described the house of Cartier as "jeweller of kings, and king of jewellers"; the internationally renowned firm was founded in 1847, when Louis-François Cartier inherited the workshop of his mentor, Adolphe Picard. Now, over a century and a half later, this exhibition examines the history of the firm that was instrumental in defining ground-breaking jewellery trends including Art Deco and the Oriental style. The collection is on display until October 17th in the beautiful Baroque setting of the Riding School of Prague Castle, a fascinating complex of architectural styles forming the largest medieval castle estate in the world.
The collection includes such breath-taking gems as a pair of platinum, rock crystal and diamond bracelets owned and worn by Gloria Swanson in at least two of her film appearances, and a special order platinum necklace made in 1928 for the Maharaja of Patiala which includes an assortment of diamonds, zirconias, topazes, citrines and other stones. Besides the jewels and other artistic creations, the visitor is given an insight into the historical process of jewellery-making as the display offers a fascinating and inspiring journey through the treasures of the 'king of jewellers' by means of records from the original Cartier archives and biographies of the owners of the exhibits.
Prague Castle is the latest in a line of exclusive venues that have hosted exhibitions of the Cartier masterpieces: exhibitions of the gems have also been hosted by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the British Museum in London, Le Petit Palais in Paris, Vitra Design Museum, Berlin, The Museums of the Kremlin in Moscow, Tokyo National Museum and, most recently, the Beijing Palace Museum in the heart of the Forbidden City.
Cartier at Prague Castle