Anyone with a passion for historical jewelry knows of Cartier’s Tutti Frutti design. The first was created in the 20’s, Cartier’s groundbreaking Tutti Frutti piece made its global debut in 1936 when the glamorous socialite Daisy Fellowes donned the multicolored gemstone necklace and made it famous. Today, the emerald, sapphire, and ruby designs can fetch millions at auction and are among the most sought-after vintage pieces.
While the pursuit of a Tutti Frutti for your jewelry collection may prove challenging, many more collectible Cartier pieces make their way to estate sales, galleries, and auctions every year. On September 19, Bonhams New York will auction 19 iconic Cartier designs from Gigi Guggenheim Danziger’s collection.
When it comes to collecting Cartier, seek out the brand’s official signature and you’ll be golden. One example of a signed piece is the 18-karat gold bracelet in Gigi Guggenheim Danziger’s collection, which heads to auction next month.
“This design was attributed to Dinh Van, who worked for Cartier for a short time. It’s a really interesting, architectural piece of jewelry. It’s a simple, easy-to-wear gold piece that has a Cartier signature.” says Abeles, the director of U.S. jewelry at Bonhams auction house.
BELLE ÉPOQUE: 1890’s to early 1900’s
Ornate, floral ribbon and tassel details are among the most defining elements of this time. “From the belle époque period, you might want to have a fantastic corsage or choker” notes Abeles.
This refined pearl and diamond women’s watch is also a hallmark of the belle époque’s aesthetic.
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ART DECO ERA: 20’s
Some of Cartier’s most famous designs date back to the 1920s. “If a person wants to focus on a period to collect, I would suggest the Art Deco period,” says Abeles.
This diamond-covered pendant illustrates the intricate geometric motifs that flourished during that time.
1930’s and 40’s
Fresh colors and motifs emerge here, including chain links. “In the 1940s, you get into some great gold and citrine pieces,” says Abeles.
Vintage citrine jewelry piece.
“In the ’60s, we see a change in jewelry altogether. The classic jewelry of this time period was simple, elegant, and typically had splashes of color with diamonds. Some brooches from the Danziger collection illustrate this style,” says Abeles.
A dazzling ruby and diamond piece.
“Later, yellow gold began to dominate as the choice of metal in jewelry, and this can be seen with Lots 101, 109—each a diamond necklace by Cartier,” notes Abeles.
A Cartier brooch composed of gold and wood.
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Cartier sapphire, gold, and cultured pearl necklace.
Cartier yellow-gold necklace.