The word "meander" derives from the word Maiandros, the Greek name for a winding river in Phrygia. In the artistic sphere of ancient Greece, the curves and bends of rivers' paths inspired the more geometrical designs which appear in the architecture and vase painting. In these motifs, the lines wander in a symmetrical, rigid fashion, the turns creating right angles. The "meander" pattern was introduced into jewellery design in 1856 when the renowned French court jewellers, Alfred and Frédéric Bapst, created a Greek diadem for the Empress Eugenie. Subsequently, the tiara was redesigned and the diamonds remounted twice. The design in the present necklace echoes the third version which was created in 1867. The design later reappeared in the "kokoshnik" tiaras of Cartier in the first quarter of the 20th Century.
Literature: Bernard Morel, "Les Joyaux de la Couronne de France", Fonds Mercator, Antwerp, 1988
Hans Nadelhoffer,"Cartier, Jewelers Extraordinary", Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York, 1984