Cartier: A Chic Way to Wake Up

Manjari Sihare of Saffronart explores Cartier’s timekeeping history

New York: This week The Story by Saffronart offers a unique selection of watches and clocks in its collection, The Art of Keeping Time. An exquisite highlight of the collection is a Cartier Art Deco Alarm Clock from the 1990s.

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Of all luxury brands, perhaps one which most people are familiar with is Cartier. The firm established in Paris in 1847 by Louis-François Cartier, an apprentice to Parisian jeweler Adolphe Picard, who took over the business at the death of his master. In less than 6 years, by 1853, young Louis-François became a favorite of Napoleon III’s cousin Princess Mathilde, who was single handedly instrumental in his entry into Parisian society. For most part of the 19th century, Cartier was strictly a jeweler. It was not until the reigns of the company passed on to his sons, Louis, Pierre, and Jacques that the Paris jeweler’s name became synonymous with wristwatches.

In 1904, Brazilian aviation pioneer, Alberto-Santos Dumont complained to his friend Louis Cartier about the non–reliability of pocket watches which prompted Louis to craft a more reliable alternative. This was the birth of the Santos wristwatch which is considered to be the first men’s wristwatch to be created. A flat wristwatch with a square bezel, the legacy this pioneering design can still be seen in modern Cartier watches. In 1907, Edmond Jaeger and Cartier signed a contract under which all Jaeger’s movement designs for a period of 15 years would be exclusive to Cartier.

The next watches to be introduced in the range were the Baignoire and Tortue in 1912 followed by the Tank model in 1917. All three models are still in production today. This is the essence of Cartier, what makes the firm unique in so many ways. It is one of the few brands that still include versions of its most initial models in its current lineup. The pieces are literally timeless, as new models usually carry the DNA of vintage Cartier watches, constantly improved, slightly adjusted and re-released. Earlier this year (14 December 2011 to 12 February 2012), the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore hosted the exhibition “Cartier Time Art” , the largest collection of historical Cartier timepieces ever displayed in public. Conceived by award-winning designer Tokujin Yoshioka, the exhibition aimed to take visitors on a journey to the heart of Cartier watch-making, and included 158 historical timepieces from objects dating to the origins of the firm to the present day. Bernard Fornas, CEO of Cartier International speaks about the show in this short preview.

This exhibition was special also because it showcased a large selection of alarm clocks by Cartier for the first time. Much has been written and seen regarding Cartier wristwatches but less is known about its alarm clocks. Fine Cartier clocks have been in production since the late 1800’s, longer than the wristwatches. It is important to know that almost every well known watch model by Cartier, from the Tank to the Pasha are all available as alarm clocks, and sometimes even as table clocks. The wristwatch cousins of both the Tank and Pasha alarm clocks were featured in our recently concluded Autumn Auction of Fine Jewels & Watches, 2012.

Cartier expert George Cramer encapsulates the chronological history of Cartier clocks from the early 1900s until now in a post on Revo-Online, the digital version of leading international watch magazine. Cramer is an authority on Cartier watches and operates Troisanneaux.com, non-commercial online library on men’s Cartier watches.

The Art Deco Clock features prominently in Cramer’s selection. He indicates that buying a second hand vintage clock is advisable provided it is the right model. Vintage Cartier clocks from the 1980s used a battery that is no longer available for replacement. Batteries of clocks from the 1990s such as the Art Deco one are more widely available making them a more favorable acquisition. Starting your day with the supple chime of a Cartier alarm clock is one of life’s modest luxuries!

Cartier’s Timekeeping Legacy

Manjari Sihare of Saffronart explores Cartier’s timekeeping history

New York: This week Saffronart is offering a unique selection of watches in its Autumn Online Auction of Fine Jewels & Watches. Some exquisite highlights of the collection include the Ladies Bagnoire, Men’s Pasha Steel Wristwatch and the Tank Reversible Basculante, all from Cartier.

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Of all luxury brands, perhaps one which most people are familiar with is Cartier. The firm established in Paris in 1847 by Louis-François Cartier, an apprentice to Parisian jeweler Adolphe Picard, who took over the business at the death of his master. In less than 6 years, by 1853, young Louis-François became a favorite of Napoleon III’s cousin Princess Mathilde, who was single handedly instrumental in his entry into Parisian society. For most part of the 19th century, Cartier was strictly a jeweler. It was not until the reigns of the company passed on to his sons, Louis, Pierre, and Jacques that the Paris jeweler’s name became synonymous with wristwatches.

In 1904, Brazilian aviation pioneer, Alberto-Santos Dumont complained to his friend Louis Cartier about the non–reliability of pocket watches which prompted Louis to craft a more reliable alternative. This was the birth of the Santos wristwatch which is considered to be the first men’s wristwatch to be created. A flat wristwatch with a square bezel, the legacy this pioneering design can still be seen in modern Cartier watches. In 1907, Edmond Jaeger and Cartier signed a contract under which all Jaeger’s movement designs for a period of 15 years would be exclusive to Cartier.

The next watches to be introduced in the range were the Baignoire and Tortue in 1912 followed by the Tank model in 1917. All three models are still in production today. This is the essence of Cartier, what makes the firm unique in so many ways. It is one of the few brands that still include versions of its most initial models in its current lineup. The pieces are literally timeless, as new models usually carry the DNA of vintage Cartier watches, constantly improved, slightly adjusted and re-released. Earlier this year (14 December 2011 to 12 February 2012), the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore hosted the exhibition “Cartier Time Art” , the largest collection of historical Cartier timepieces ever displayed in public. Conceived by award-winning designer Tokujin Yoshioka, the exhibition aimed to take visitors on a journey to the heart of Cartier watch-making, and included 158 historical timepieces from objects dating to the origins of the firm to the present day. Bernard Fornas, CEO of Cartier International speaks about the show in this short preview.

 

Pearls: The Queen of Gems

Amy Lin of Saffronart explores the origins of pearls in relation to some of the opulent pearls featured in this month’s Auction of Fine Jewelry & Watches

Lot 44: A NATURAL PEARL AND DIAMOND BROOCH
Centering on an off-round natural pearl, weighing 14.70 carats, to a surround of collet-set natural diamonds
Auction of Fine Jewels & Watches (OCT 30-31, 2012)

New York: From Cleopatra drinking a pearl dissolved in a cocktail to prove Egypt’s worth, to Queen Elizabeth I adorning her garments with pearls as the symbol of feminine virtue, these illustrious jewels have rightfully claimed their title as the “Queen of Gems.” Besides their timeless elegance and seductive luster, the origins of pearls are miracles in themselves.

Lot 45: A FIVE-STRAND NATURAL PEARL NECKLACE
Designed as five gently graduated strands of 675 natural pearls, weighing approximately 545.12 carats in total, and measuring between approximately 8.49 mm and 3.62 mm, joined by a clasp set to the center with an oval-shaped diamond, weighing approximately 2.78 carats, mounted in gold
Auction of Fine Jewels & Watches (OCT 30-31, 2012)

Saffronart is pleased to feature several important pearls in our upcoming Auction of Fine Jewels & Watches, including a majestic natural pearl and diamond brooch. At 14.70 carats, its impressive size is a rare beauty, with a garland of diamonds that enhances its luminosity. Another important piece is a five strand natural pearl necklace fashioned out of 675 natural pearls, weighing approximately 545.12 carats in total, recalling some of the legendry strings of pearls worn by royals all over the world.

The pearl is the one of the few gems that are cultivated in a living organism. Pearls are usually divided into two broad categories, natural and cultured.  Natural pearls are formed when foreign objects enter a mollusk such as an oyster or mussel. Over time, the organisms coat the objects with a substance called nacre and build up layers until a pearl is formed. Cultured pearls are created in a similar way, except the foreign objects are introduced manually into mollusks in pearl farms. It is much more difficult for pearls to form in nature given different environmental factors; therefore natural pearls are valued much higher than cultured pearls.

Pearls in Oyster Shell
Image Credit: http://jasonofbh.com/?p=5700

It is a common misconception to believe that pearls are perfectly round. Pearls, especially large ones, are rarely rounded. They can be off round or baroque, which refers to irregular and unique shapes. In addition, the size of the pearl depends on how long it remains in the organism, the chemistry and the temperature of the water. Large, round pearls are extremely rare, both natural and cultured, often commanding high prices.

The captivating elegance of pearls has attracted both kings and queens around the world, and India is no exception. Surprisingly, the biggest pearl patrons in India were not its queens, but its long succession of Maharajas. One of the most divine pieces in the collection of the royal family of Baroda, for example, was the seven-strand pearl necklace known as the “Baroda Pearl Necklace.”  Documented by distinguished photographers since its creation in the 19th century, it was also published in George Frederick Kunz’s seminal 1908 volume, “The Book of Pearl.” The necklace once again attracted international attention when Maharaja Pratapsingh Rao Gaekwad was photographed by Henri Cartier Bresson wearing it.

Here are some more pieces featuring pearls in the upcoming auction. 

To learn more about pearls, browse through our Jewelry Guide. 

Maharajah Pratapsingh Rao Gaekwad wearing the Baroda pearl necklace. Maharani Sita Devi making adjustments to the necklace.
Photograph By: Henri Cartier Bresson
Image Credit: http://www.internetstones.com/baroda-pearl-necklace-maharajah-khande-rao-gaekwad.html

Cocoa-Coloured Diamonds

Medha Kapur from Saffronart shares a note on brown diamonds

Brown DiamondsDiamonds have always been the most sought-after gems on earth, and for centuries, these precious stones have been desired and coveted across various cultures and geographies. I think “loving diamonds” is in a woman’s DNA. There’s no better way to stand out from the crowd than wearing a bold accessory with a bit of sparkle and. The diamond is a symbol of privilege, and like snowflakes, no two are exactly alike. Each has specific qualities that establish its value. Occasionally, nature will get creative and produce a diamond with almost magical colors: blue, pink, deep yellows and even green hues. Fancy-colour diamonds are highly prized, and even more so if their colour is the result of natural processes.

Recent celebrity fascination with fancy coloured diamonds may also account for the sudden spiral in their popularity. According to the GIA, the demand for coloured diamonds has increased 102% since 1999.

Lorraine Schwartz Brown Diamond Bracelet

Lorraine Schwartz Brown Diamond Bracelet

This season, yellow and brown coloured diamonds seem to be very popular, and it is no surprise that jewelers are dipping into this new champagne-coloured fashion trend! You will find plenty of variety in brown diamonds, from the “champagne” (lightly tinted) to the darker “cognac” diamonds, and each is a must have in one’s jewelry collection! The key to wearing browns diamonds is to go for a contrast. Warm toned coloured diamonds pair best with the brilliance of colourless diamonds!

Lea Michele’s Brown and White Diamond Mesh Necklace.

Lea Michele’s Brown and White Diamond Mesh Necklace.

Saffronart’s Autumn Online Auction of Fine Jewels & Watches on October 30-31, features an important necklace and pair of ear pendants set with brown and colourless diamonds. The necklace features two striking rows of round full-cut diamonds and diamond baguettes, and spacers set with marquise-shaped diamonds, which suspend a graduated fringe of coloured diamond briolette beads. The earrings are of a similar design, but versatile, in that the cluster of coloured diamond briolettes suspended from each can be removed, so they may be worn differently. This suite is one of those statement pieces that’s sure to garner glances and envy whenever and wherever you wear it!

brown and colourless diamond necklace

Saffronart’s Autumn Online Auction of Fine Jewels & Watches

Blue Velvet: The Myth of the Kashmir Sapphires

Amy Lin of Saffronart explores the significance of the Kashmir sapphire in this month’s auction of Fine Jewels & Watches

Lot 25: AN UNMOUNTED NATURAL KASHMIR SAPPHIRE
A cushion-shaped modified brilliant and modified step cut sapphire, weighing 11.15 carats
Auction of Fine Jewels & Watches (OCT 30-31, 2012)

New York: At 11,000 feet above sea level, miners risk dangerous situations to procure one of the most precious gemstones in the world, the Kashmir sapphire. Kashmir sapphires retain a brilliant, dreamlike blue colour that captivated the hearts of kings and civilians alike. Some call these stones ‘blue velvet’, while others simply know them as the rarest sapphires in the world.

We are proud to feature a magnificent 11.15 carat Kashmir sapphire in this month’s auction of Fine Jewels & Watches. The gem is cushion shaped, with step cuts that illuminate its radiance. Its un-mounted nature allows designers and jewelry lovers countless ways in which to set it in a unique ring, brooch or pendant.

Sapphires are part of the mineral corundum family, and carry traces of aluminum oxide. Although they come in different colours, the most famous and sought after are blue sapphires that carry hints of titanium. Besides their brilliance, sapphires are extremely resilient, placing them second only to diamonds on the Mohs Hardness Scale. The value of sapphires is determined by their colour, purity, reflection and size.

The Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, late 19th century
Photographer: Deen Dayal
Image Credit: http://www.oldindianphotos.in/2012/02/maharaja-of-jammu-and-kashmir-late-19th.html

Sapphires were first discovered in Kashmir in the 1880s, when a landslide revealed a mineral deposit of exceptional quality and size. The British Indian geologist F.R. Mallet was hired to indentify the stones, which turned out to be sapphires like no other. He recorded his discovery in the Manual of Indian Geology at the Indian Museum. Upon hearing about the blue gems in his region, the Maharaja of Kashmir sent troops to secure the mines but allowed his subjects to keep the ones previously extracted. From 1882 to 1887, Kashmir flourished as riches spilled into the kingdom.

Before long, heavy mining led to the decline of profits and the depletion of resources.  Although evacuations have been led to find other mines, none could rival the quality of the first. In modern times, the Indian Himalayas have seen a lot of guerilla warfare. Therefore, whether additional deposits of Kashmir sapphires are still hidden underground is a matter of speculation. It is without a doubt that the sapphires from Kashmir’s early mining days are the best in the world in terms of their colour and size. Their unique, intertwining crystals give them a hazy, hypnotic quality that evokes dreams and mysticism. Because of their short mining debut, they are one of the rarest gems in the world, making them a true collector’s item.

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