“Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.” – Confucius

ARTelier Cartier

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Art Dubai was organized for the 7th time with the participation of 75 galleries representing 30 countries. During four days over 25,000 visitors, art lovers, curators and collectors attended the Madinat Arena. This year more galleries were invited from West Africa, and several artists attended from various European countries as well as Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Syria.

Dubai and the Middle East are not well known for allowing free flow to artistic self-expression. Despite the initial sceptical voices one of the aims of the event was to change this opinion and to offer a truly creative platform for artists with as little restriction as possible.

One of the main sponsors of the event Cartier, participated with a stall inspired by the Maison Cartier, located at 13, Rue de la Paix. The company has been supporting contemporary art for over 25 years via the initiatives of the “Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain”. The goal of the foundation is to provide a creative outlet for artists and to make outstanding pieces of contemporary art known by a wider audience. Cartier places great emphasis on providing not only one-off support to artists but helping them to diverse ongoing opportunities via exhibitions and showcases. Cartier Art is the jewellery house’s magazine which has been introducing artists and their work since 2001 by covering topics in an exclusive format.

This year they exhibited Alessandro Mendini’s piece entitled “Le Visage Archaïque” which is a head encased in gilded Murano glass mosaics. Three pendants (depicting the miniature versions of the head) hang on a silk thread around the neck of the schematic head which were designed and made in the Cartier atelier according to the artist’s commission. The Milan-based artist has collaborated with numerous companies; he is a designer, architect and image consultant for Philips, Swarovski, Swatch, and Bisazza.

The stunning stall featured high jewellery pieces from the vintage and current collections, as well as interesting phases of the Maison’s history and artistry. One of the rooms was dedicated to Jeanne Toussaint.  Jeanne joined Cartier in 1910 and albeit she was not the first to use it- she is credited for the introduction of the characteristic panther motif. Her colleagues even gave her the Panther nick-name. She became the Director of Fine Jewellery at Cartier in 1933 and her vision and ideas defined the company’s direction. She was Coco Chanel’s contemporary, and was just as strong a character, who influenced her environment a great deal. “Mademoiselle” left her mark in the world of fashion; Jeanne left her legacy in the jewellery field.  (One of Jeanne Toussaint’s iconic pieces is on show in Paris from 19 March until 20 April. This exhibition showcases symbolic Cartier pieces from the 1940-1945 period, including the Freed Bird brooch, and the brooch representing the Cross of Lorraine.)

The Maison presented the Les Heures Fabuleuses de Cartier this January at the SIHH in Geneva. I was able to admire one of my favourites from the extravagant jewel watches once again in Dubai. The Fabuleux diamond cuff bracelet watch is 18 ct. with rhodium-plated white gold adorned with rose-cut and brilliant-cut diamonds. The Birds pendant watch and brooch also belong to this collection; this is a long white gold ruby and diamond necklace, where on the pendant two beautiful parrots sit atop a little jewel watch decorated with diamonds.

The Cartier pieces pass through extremely thorough design and production processes leading up to the finished product. The Maison presented some of these phases with the aid of a so-called transparent LCD display-window. They introduced how the first wax mock-up is made from a drawing, and then how the mock-up is “pierced” precisely according to the later position of the precious stones and how the hot metal is poured on the mock-up. Later this model is filed, sanded and polished so that the finished product will definitely be comfortable to wear and to establish the location, weight and all other parameters of the precious stones. Naturally this is just a taster of the entire process, but clearly exemplifies the professionalism and fastidiousness of Cartier which extends to every detail.


Photo credits: Cartier, Loupiosity.com.
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