Cf. Hans Nadelhoffer, "Cartier", Thames and Hudson, London, 1984, page 81
From 1800 to approximately 1910, the reigning form in tiara design was the Kokoshnik, a style derivative of 16th and 17th Century Russian court wear. It consisted of a tapering band which was open to the back and at its widest to the front. Just prior to World War I, fashion designers, Paul Poiret and Madeleine Vionnet in particular, began to advocate a new form - the bandeau - which was sometimes surmounted by a "pseudo-Oriental" aigrette, as in the present tiara. Hence, as Cartier were always ahead of their time in the design sphere, this diadem was most probably a trail blazer.
The bandeau harks back to the most ancient and timeless type of head adornment. It recalls the hairbands of antique civilisations, as well as the "ferronnire", a forehead ornament consisting of a ribbon with a jewel to the centre, which enjoyed popularity during the Renaissance. A lovely example can be observed in a portrait by Leonardo de Vinci, "La Ferronnire", located in Cracow, Poland.
This diadem is a splendid example of early 20th Century bandeaus of which another beautiful model can be seen in the photograph of Princess Marie-Jos of Belgium accompanying lot 570. The present jewel typifies the widespread Indian influence at Cartier which manifested itself particularly strongly in the London branch's production. The idea for the aigrette owed much to the design of turban ornaments. The scrolled terminals recall patterns in textiles or tendrils from Mughal miniatures.
Not only is this bandeau rare, as regrettably, most have been broken up due to changes in fashion, but it is also being offered with its original fitted case. This is particularly helpful in dating and identifying the sale location of the jewel. The address where the object was sold always appears at the top of the list of branches stamped in the silk interior.