Jewellery & Watches

Brooches that shaped the world

What has inspired the imagination of legendary jewelry Maisons Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier to create their most significant brooches? Graceful movements of dancers, panthers refined creeping as a unique eureka moments in jewelry history.
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Lui Arpels, one of the founders of the Van Cleef & Arpels, also a great admirer of the dance, in the middle of the gloomy 1940es sketched the amazing brooches – elegant ballerinas in colorful costumes. The jewelers of the brand have managed to capture the majestic grace of the dancers, creating poetry of movement. Combined with a diversity of implemented precious stones, it was so attractive that this line became an undisputed image of Van Cleef & Arpels. For decades it has gracefully embodied the refinement of Maison - its symbolic creation.

Under the influence of these masterpieces in 1967, the legendary choreographer George Balanchine together with the New York City Ballet staged a performance “Jewels” - in its own right - a triumph of the modern dance. It is a three-act ballet divided by three themes of colors and named after emeralds, rubies, and diamonds. This performance still concurs the world's best stages, while numerous dancers graduate each year from the ballet school of Van Clef & Arpels.

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The Pleiades of ballet heroines were fashioned through the years, Isadora, Sylphide.

Exceptional collections were created honoring the “Nutcracker” and “Bayaderka” ballets. They all share the dedication to precision and finesse, touched by grace, ballerinas who seem to be dancing on pointe and spinning for eternity. Pleated gold, precious gems, ornamental stones, which perfectly mimic the shapes and textures of stage costumes. Their rose-cut diamond faces are the signatures of these elegant and feminine figures that seem to have their own expressions. It seriously raises the value of each creation is making it a true emblem in a jewelry world. Embracing one in our hand - we cannot stop to admire the excellence of a craftsman and the elegance of the ballet.

This is a special kind of treat to invite your precious dancer out for a performance that she personifies. Just running through the libretto will reveal her character and create that special intimate bond between you that only the ones in the know can appreciate.

Speaking of iconic brooches: it is impossible to neglect the Panther of Cartier. This is the history of creation associated closely with two passionate relations, first of Louis Cartier with Jeanne Toussaint (ingenious Paris cocotte) and then the captivated love between Kind of England Edward the VII and an American Wallis Simpson. As the story goes, in the year of 1913, Cartier meets Jeanne and soon appoints her to oversee the jewelry department of his company. While her creative talents were never argued, their private relations were condemned both by the family and society. Running away from Paris, the pair embarked on the exotic safari journey. There, it is believed that Jeanne saw the crouching panther and exclaimed: “Onyx, emeralds, and diamonds – it is a brooch!” This led to a legendary shape of a wild cat becoming a part of the Cartier collection.


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The Panther of Cartier

Later on in this story, the second loving couple has come in to play. By this time King of England abdicated for the sake of his love with Wallis Simpson and titled Duke of Windsor, he is eager to cross the Vandome square in Paris, holding in his suit pocket a 116 Ct Emerald. Together with Louis Cartier, they mastermind the future creation where for the first time in the jewelry history, a full three-dimensional model of panther will appear in yellow gold posing on a huge green rock. The brooch has made an indelible mark, and so in the coming decades, the Duke orders few more works of jewelry art that become symbolic around the world.

The second brooch – a panther, which is sitting on a cabochon sapphire weighting 152,3 Carats was a vision of Jeanne Toussaint.

And so the third brooch: already in the 60es, a leaping panther with onyx and diamonds was created as a pair for the bracelet.

Being created to this day, wild cats of Cartier are stunning one and all, not only by the high level of execution but also by mere details of body language, striking and expressive, predator like green emerald eyes.

It is undeniable that both ballerinas and panthers are symbolic creations of Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier, and it is unclear what a jewelry history would be like without them.

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