Cartier exhibits jewels in Houston

14 years ago Comments Off on Cartier exhibits jewels in Houston

HOUSTON (AP) – Those who can’t afford Cartier’s jewels can admire them up close at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, where diamond and aquamarine tiaras, a 150-carat sapphire brooch once owned by the Dutchess of Windsor and other jewels are on display.

The exhibit, which has only one U.S. stop in Houston, is unique because it focuses on the quality of the jewelry’s design and beauty, rather than who owned the jewels or the time period in which they were created, museum officials said.

The exhibit opens Sunday and continues through March 27.

“People will be knocked out, maybe a little frightened by the brilliance of it,” said Peter Marzio, the museum’s director, who brought the exhibit to Houston after seeing it in Milan and Berlin.

Italian architect Ettore Sottsass put together the exhibit of 209 pieces from the renowned jeweler’s 1,200-piece private collection.

“The basic idea was to select the items of jewelry solely on the basis of their design,” Sottsass said. “We made our choices on the basis of that we considered to be the prettiest, the most wearable, the most reasonable.”

The jewels, including gem-studded cigarette holders, binoculars, handbags, powder boxes, timepieces and more traditional necklaces, bracelets and rings, shimmer in a darkened exhibit hall.

Two of the more stunning pieces appear at the beginning of the exhibit – a platinum tiara from 1908 with 15 pear-shaped diamonds and oriental pearls and a platinum-and-round-diamond choker necklace created by Cartier in 1906.

The exhibit’s final piece is a crocodile necklace created in 1975 for Mexican actress Maria Felix. The two crocodile bodies are gold. One is covered with 1,023 yellow diamonds, while the other is adorned with 1,060 circular cut emeralds.

According to legend, Felix showed up to an appointment with Cartier walking a crocodile and asked that they make her a necklace.