Every jewel has a story, and Cartier’s latest Étourdissant collection have a couple that go beyond our wildest imagination. By Amy Yasmine.
To the French, “étourdissant” is a word frequently used to describe something astonishing or spectacular; a breathtaking moment that captivates you in the stillness of time. And Cartier has aptly named its latest high jewellery collection “Étourdissant”, an extravagant showcase of the 169-year-old maison’s unparalleled artistry and exceptional craftsmanship with century-old savoir faire. After a sprawling presentation that spanned across four different continents (the largest being in Singapore, where more than 600 high jewellery pieces were displayed last October), one message stood clear: While other jewels sparkle, Cartier’s tells a story.
“It’s one of my favourite pieces here in this exhibition,” says Cartier’s international marketing and communication director Arnaud Carrez as he gestured towards a stately bracelet. It is now months since the public exhibition ‘Étourdissant Cartier’ opened its doors and shared Cartier’s passion for objets d’art with Singapore, and yet, the mysterious sapphire bracelet remains etched in memories.
The Romanov bracelet, named after the Russian Dynasty it once belonged to, is a luminous creation with a past as impressive as its 197.8 carats. Long shrouded in mystery, the jewel was originally an adornment on Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna’s evening gowns, worn to celebrate Emperor Alexander III. However, as the Russian Revolution began, all of the Empress’s belongings, including the precious sapphire, were seized by the Bolsheviks, never to be found by its true owner again. Nevertheless, the sapphire found its way out of Russia and into the hands of opera singer Ganna Walska in 1928, and made a mysterious appearance in Cartier’s flagship boutique in New York. Over the span of 40 years, the Romanov sapphire continued its disappearing act
The mysterious Romanov bracelet—the star of Cartier's Étourdissant collection
Green with envy in the 66.09-carat cushion-shaped step-cut emerald high jewellery bracelet and the 31.03-carat sugarloaf emerald ring
A photograph of Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna with the legendary sapphire brooch on her gown
The infamous Romanov bracelet, featuring the 197.8-carat Ceylon sapphire