PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE COLLECTOR
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At Cartier, Art Deco creations began close to the onset of the 20th century. Influences included the Ballet Russes and Orientalism, blending together to create an era of incomparably stylish and elegant jewels. Few designs have captured the imagination and enthusiasm of connoisseurs and collectors as Cartier's Tutti Frutti creations. These pieces are directly inspired by the intricate Mughal carving and craftsmanship found throughout the decorative arts of India from the 16th century onwards.
The incorporation of Indian influences and gemstones into jewels was one of Cartier's greatest innovations in the Art Deco period. Jacques Cartier first grew enamored of Indian jewels at the turn of the 19th century. As the director of Cartier London, he was exposed to the lavish jewels of the Indian princes who often visited Britain. Jacques himself traveled to India in 1911 in an effort to establish Cartier's reputation among the Indian elite. 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 jewelry 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 color and flowing naturalistic design. Summing up the influence that Mughal jewelry had on the designs of Cartier, Ettagale Blauer wrote, "Though strongly influenced by the Indian jewelry, the Cartier designs are marked only by the most finely extracted essence of that style: the spirit and color 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.