Last week, I took the 7-8 hour drive up to Canberra for the Cartier Exhibition at the National Gallery.
Louis-Francois Cartier founded the firm in 1847. It was taken over by his son, Alfred in 1874, who was later joined by his three sons, Louis, Pierre and Jacques. By the early 1900s, they had branches in Paris, London and New York, and the House of Cartier became the world’s most prestigious designer of jewellery, luxury accessories and timepieces.
These are just a few of the pieces in the exhibition. The photos are not wonderful, because of the glass cases they were in and also because diamonds do sparkle enough to mess up a photo.
This is the one that greeted me as I entered.
One of the reasons I took the trek up to Canberra was that the tiara Catherine wore for her marriage to Prince William was going to be there. And there it was.
This diamond necklace was one of the gifts given to the Queen by the Nizam of Hyderabad, for her wedding to Prince Phillip. She took it with her on her 1954 tour of Australia and it’s the one featured in the William Darbie portrait that we grew up looking at. The Queen lent it for the exhibition.
Smoking was considered an art form in the early 20th century, can you believe it, and wealthy people splashed out on its accessories.
I could definitely have seen myself with this gold cigarette case and lighter in my early smoking days, slipped, needless to say, into my Cartier purse. Love the emerald clip.
This Lapis Lazuli desk ink stand and clock were also lent by the Queen.
This bracelet-watch made of rubies and diamonds was so beautiful, so delicate, I considered smashing the glass and making a run for it. I don’t think I would have got far so I decided against it. The photo doesn’t do anything for it. It was quite red and now I know I’ve got a thing for rubies.
These two necklaces are a bit different to the others on show. I definitely have a thing for Burmese rubies.
The exhibition takes you through the various eras and changes in fashion and design over the 20th century and it’s fascinating.