Original article found on vogue.com
With its lush landscape and sweeping coastline, the South of France has historically been ripe territory for creative inspiration—think: Picasso, Chagall, Matisse, to name just a few. It was also the starting point for Cartier’s latest high jewelry collection, Étourdissant. “It’s about capturing the spirit, aura, and charisma of the Côte d’Azur—its lights, its colors,” says Pierre Rainero, director of image, style, and heritage for the 168-year-old Parisian jewelry house. “When you think of Cartier, you think of conception, of design—it’s really art.” Comprised of more than 50 items, the collection was initially launched in Cap d’Antibes this past July and will be presented anew on Thursday night in Miami—just in time for Art Basel—alongside additional one-of-a-kind pieces.
Some of the standout jewelry in the collection includes a sautoir made with amethyst and chalcedony stones reminiscent in color of the gulf of St. Tropez, and an exquisite pink and white gold necklace finished with clusters of brown and white diamonds that recall the spiky formations of sea urchins. Perhaps the most breathtaking piece is the Romanov bracelet, which features a 197.80-carat cushion-shaped, rose-cut sapphire once owned by Tsarina Maria Feodorovna, a prominent Romanov heiress and socialite.
The much-loved Cartier signatures are here, too—though with unexpected combinations of precious stones and distinctly modern settings, they appear far from familiar: The iconic panther ring is reimagined in jasper, a micro-quartz possessing a wooden appearance with emerald eyes, for example. Another such style is the Tutti Frutti, first popularized in 1901 when Pierre Cartier created a necklace for Queen Alexandra of England. The colorful maharaja-inspired design has been rendered as a tiara, made of emeralds, rubies, and sapphires, which took in excess of 1,000 hours to craft. “Creating Étourdissant was possible thanks to extraordinary stones,” says Rainero. And while there is no literal translation for Étourdissant in English, “it can be interpreted as something that stirs emotions,” he adds. Heart-stoppingly rare and beautiful bijoux, indeed.