Merging Influences, India & Europe
The influence of India in Western jewellery design is perhaps most apparent in the jewellery made by Cartier in the 1920s. Their 'tutti frutti' tree of life bracelets being the prime example of this merging of cultures. What is not so often referred to is the Western world's influence in Indian jewellery design during the same period. Some of the pieces contained within the 'Merging Influences' sections of this catalogue are fine examples of this exchange of ideas between very different cultures.
Two interesting examples of Cartier's 'Indian' jewels are the attractive miniature clip brooch and dramatic pendant lots 82 and 91.
Of all the coloured gemstones, emerald was the most prolifically used in India from the late 16th century onwards. The main focus of a jewel was often emerald with a mixture of diamonds, rubies and pearls embellishing the yellow gold surround.
The clip brooch, lot 82 in this sale is pure Indian in its artistic handling and may well be a direct copy of an Indian element, possibly the pommel of a Maharajah's dagger or a section of a ceremonial necklace. Cartier were masters of this kind of adaptation.
The pendant, lot 91 is however less of a direct copy and more of an actual merge of influences. The West's fascination and love of Art Deco design is still very strong which makes this rare Cartier jewel so interesting and collectable. It exudes the Deco ethics of the West but is pure Indian in its stylistic intentions.
In contrast the Indian Sherwani buttons, are influenced by the West. The three sets in this sale are European their in design inspiration dating from between 1910-1925 and are also made in the European style, with open back settings. The traditional Indian mounting was Kundan work using thin sheets of gold covering shalak with enamel on the reverse and 'cold' setting of the gemstones to the front.
The sarpech lot 87 an important Indian symbol of status worn on the turban, also makes use of Western jewellery making techniques. The setting of the central rose-cut diamond matches lot 88; the exceptionally large rose-cut diamond Maharajah's pinky ring.
The jewellery by Spanish designer Sanz from the 1960s (lot 89 and 90) are whimsical in their portrayal of the Indian elephant and the leopard and highlights the interest of India in the West, that often occurred with jewellers such as Verdura, Marchak, Webb, Cartier, Sanz and many others from the 1920s until the 1970s.