Seeing the Light
Cartier presents Étourdissant—a vibrant high jewellery collection inspired by the colourful days and nights of the French Riviera. Nadine Nicholson examines the luxurious pieces
magine the creation of artworks that depict the vibrant hues of the dazzling Mediterranean—using a rich variety of precious gems as your colour palette. That’s precisely what Cartier has achieved with its most recent collection, Étourdissant. Superlatives abound at the sight of the Parisian maison’s latest designs, which will captivate even those who believe they have seen all there is to see in the rarefied world of haute joaillerie.
Indeed, the historic brand is confident about its most recent designs that it chose the name Étourdissant, which loosely translates from the French as “stunning” or “dazzling”— and it’s an entirely appropriate moniker. Exquisite precious stones in vibrant colours are combined with brilliant metals to create bold shapes and form breathtaking jewels that conjure up images of sizzling summer days and sultry nights on the Mediterranean.
It’s no surprise to learn that the collection was influenced by the ethereal beauty of the French Riviera and that the collection was launched (quite aptly) in Cap d’antibes in the south of France last June. It was presented again in Miami during Art Basel—equally appropriate, as it’s no exaggeration to say that the collection is as much a work of art as it is a showcase of high jewellery.
The Étourdissant collection comprises two halves: Daylight, which is bursting with colour in a celebration of sunny skies, sparkling oceans and myriad flora, and Evening Shadows, which presents darker, deeper shades that are reminiscent of night-time strolls under a blanket of stars.
The most precious gemstones—including diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, rubies, opals, tourmalines, corals, tanzanites, garnets and chrysoprases—have been chosen for the richness of their materials and their unique ways of transforming light. There are some Cartier classics incorporated in the designs, too, including the celebrated panther and much-loved tutti-frutti favourites. There are also new shapes, with stones that have been specially calibrated to radiate the vast range of vibrant colours.
Possibly the loveliest piece of all is the Hyderabad headband, which is comprised of platinum, an 18.23-carat carved octagonalshaped emerald from Colombia, carved sapphires and emeralds, ruby drops, ruby, emerald and sapphire beads, onyx, triangularshaped diamonds, brilliant-cut diamonds, and a silk cord. Amazingly versatile, the headband can also be worn as a bracelet or a choker. Also gorgeous is a cuff that incorporates a glittering 189-carat opal of purple, pink, green and blue that features an irregular setting, which consists of a complex mosaic