• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 12182

    Important Jewels

    18 October 2016, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 92

    A WHITE GOLD BIRD BROOCH, BY CARTIER

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A WHITE GOLD BIRD BROOCH, BY CARTIER
    Designed as an 18k white gold crane in flight, circa 1930, 2 1/8 ins., reverse inscribed 'NO FLOWERS'
    Signed Cartier


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    Pre-Lot Text

    "After midnight, the moon set, and I was alone with the stars. I have often said that the lure of flying is the lure of beauty, and I need no other flight to convince me that the reason flyers fly, whether they know it or not, is the esthetic appeal of flying." – Amelia Earhart

    Christie’s is delighted to offer a unique Cartier brooch with an amazing provenance. The consignor’s family owned a trucking company in Newark, New Jersey during the first half of the 20th century. In the 1930s, the company was hired to transport the luggage of one of the world’s most celebrated aviators, Ms. Amelia Earhart, from the airport. Sometime after the job was completed, a brooch, in the form of a crane, was discovered on the floor of the truck. The company owner attempted to contact Earhart to arrange the brooch’s return, but sadly, shortly thereafter on June 2, 1937, Earhart disappeared over the Pacific Ocean during her attempt at a round-the-world flight.

    “NO FLOWERS” is inscribed on the reverse of the brooch, and we can only speculate as to what this phrase may have meant to Earhart. We do know that in a February 7,1931, New York Times article about Amelia’s wedding to George P. Putnam, Mrs. Putnam Sr. described the simplicity of the event, which took place at her home in Connecticut, specifically mentioning that there were “no flowers.” Perhaps the brooch was a wedding gift to Earhart and the phrase a witticism between the couple? Whatever the significance of “No Flowers” may have been, this brooch is atypical of what Cartier was producing at the time and was most likely a special order for the first woman of aviation around the time of her nuptials.

    Although Earhart did not often wear jewelry, she wore the brooch proudly in July of 1932 as she was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in Los Angeles, the first woman to receive the distinction.

    PROPERTY OF A LADY