Sunday, March 9, 2014

Mastery of Design: The Cartier Hand and Flower Brooch, 1930-1940

Cartier, 1930-1940
Gold, Enamel, Coral, Diamonds
The Victoria and Albert Museum

This is kind of creepy, but also quite beautiful. The two states often find themselves married. So, here, we see the undeniable influence of surrealism on world culture. The French especially enjoyed surrealism, so it’s no surprise that the jewelers at Cartier would give it a try as well.

This intriguing brooch is one of a number of similarly odd pins made by Cartier between 1930 and 1940. They all featured a combination of a hand and jewel-set flower. The differences were in material, color and scale. Here, a carved coral hand (adorned with diamond and gold “bracelets”) holds a large black enamel flower set with a brilliant-cut diamond.

Other variations include a black enameled hand with a brightly-polished gold flower of a smaller size as well as a myriad of different set stones. This one is, perhaps the most attractive of the examples, and, also, due to the fleshy color of the coral, the creepiest. 

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