Chimaeras had been a very popular oriental motif for Cartier's Art Deco creations. The chimaera was, according to ancient Greek mythology, a fire-breathing monster with the fore-parts of a lion, its middle a goat and its rear a dragon or serpent, who ravaged Lycia until slain by the hero Bellerophon. It subsequently became to symbolise the monstrous. Cartier, however, was more interested in the imaginative and artistic value of the monster. In the 1920s, Cartier broke free from the archaeological interpretations of the late 19th century and turned towards a more orientalised version most popularly employed in bangles, and in the 1960s these bangles were revived.
The delicate detailing of the coral is especially noteworthy: not only has the body been covered in delicate, subtle scales but the snout has also been decorated with scroll detail below, invisible when worn and a tribute to Cartier's superior craftsmanship and attention to detail.
A similar ring sold at Christie's Geneva, Jewellery and Objects by Cartier; 27 May 1993, lot 804 for SFr. 16,100 US$ 11,000