Few jewels have captured the imagination and enthusiasm of connoisseurs and collectors as the Tutti-Frutti creations by the Maison Cartier. These pieces are directly inspired by the intricate Mogul carving and craftsmanship found throughout the decorative arts of India from the 16th century onwards.
Jacques Cartier was to make his first trip to India in 1911. This visit had a profound effect on the jewels produced by the firm throughout the 1920s and 30s and indirectly affected the entire field of jewellery design which Cartier so strongly influenced. Alongside the rather severe, geometric Art Deco style, mainly executed in diamonds, Cartier produced vibrant Tutti-Frutti jewels, full of colour and flowing naturalistic design. Summing up the influence that Mogul jewellery had on the designs of Cartier, Ettagale Blauer wrote, "Though strongly influenced by the Indian jewellery, the Cartier designs are marked only by the most finely extracted essence of that style: the spirit and colour are reproduced, but we see no trace of the coarseness of the original design." Such was the skill of the Cartier workshop at its zenith, reworking such exotic influences into consummately elegant jewels.
Christie's established a world record price at auction for a Tutti-Frutti bracelet in Geneva in November 16, 2005 when a superb example sold for Sfr.1,420,000 ($1,093,400). The present lot is a fine illustration of the very best of Cartier's tutti-frutti jewels.