Cartier’s new Étourdissant High Jewelry Collection elicits an undeniable emotional response. In fact, ‘Étourdissant’ translates to something astonishing: a breathtaking sensation that causes one to feel flush with wonder and exhilaration. It is a mood evoked by the South of France, the glistening destination that inspired the nearly 100-piece collection. The jewelry calls to mind the shimmering sun, the velvet of the Mediterranean, and the light and color play between day and night on the Côte d’Azur.
When invited by Cartier to shoot this stunning assortment, we thought the rich and verdant greens found in nature would make the perfect backdrop. We looked to the wild for inspiration and imagined the pieces ensconced in a tropical jungle. The dynamic Étourdissant jewels come to life in person, and we sought to mimic the liveliness of the stones within a lush green paradise.
Inside this jewel-filled world, impressive stones shine through the shadows of the palm leaves. Cartier revives the lost Métier d’Art of diamond threading, complemented by delicate briolettes that mimic fresh morning dew. A classic Cartier panthére stalks its prey, seemingly emerging out of the bracelet. Liberal and geometric shapes, artistic enamel, and precious stones like emeralds and onyx playfully abound. One experiences the radiant joy of the collection’s namesake Étourdissant sensation. -Jenna Fain for The Stone Set
Étourdissant Cartier Collection bracelet, platinum, diamonds
Cartier pushes the limits of jewelry art by introducing diamond threading – a Métier d’Art of an incredible complexity. A fabulous myriad of briolettes (gemstones cut with triangular facets in a teardrop shape), meticulously selected to perfect complement one another, have been strung onto thread specifically developed for this piece.
Étourdissant Cartier Collection earrings, platinum, diamonds
With this pair of pendant earrings, Cartier summons a traditional motif of its aesthetic language, introduced at the dawn of the 20th century and celebrated here with modern rows of luminous diamonds. The perfect demonstration of the lasting power of a unique stylistic heritage in constant evolution.
Étourdissant Cartier Collection bracelet, 18k yellow gold, one 55.91 carat peridot, onyx, brillant-cut diamonds weighing 6.50 carats
Number of hours of work: 530 hours
Inspiration: A design by an everyday object: simple buttons. These usually flat circles are slightly curved here and at the center divided into two parts, joined together like a bridge by a gold “thread” that passes through the holes.
Étourdissant Cartier Collection bracelet, 18k white gold, obsidians, onyx, emeralds, Plique-à-jour enamel, diamonds
With a padded paw, the panther escapes from an exquisitely refined décor, composed in plique à jour enamel. An ancient craft considered as a Métier d’Art which requires talent, meticulousness and patience. It consists of filling fine gold partitions of a metallic support with an enamel powder, in a specific order depending on the desired colors, before firing it in the oven. The metallic containing sheet at the bottom of the motif is then dissolved, letting light shine through like in stained glass and revealing a myriad of colorful shades.
Inspiration: The first wildcat to emerge in its entirety appeared in 1917, walking between two cypress trees on the lid of a precious cigarette case given by Louis Cartier to his friend and collaborator Jeanne Toussaint. Nicknamed “the Panther” because of her allure and strength of character, it was she who breathed a new spirit into the feline when joining the Maison staff at the turn of the 1920s, then again when named artistic director of Jeweler in 1933.
Under her leadership, in 1948, the first sculpted panther was created, in the form of a brooch acquired by the Duchess of Windsor. A roaring jeweled animal of yellow gold spotted with black enamel was revealed in three dimensions, perched on an emerald cabochon. The following year, the Duchess made the acquisition of a second panther, surmounting a sapphire cabochon. Offering new postures and expressions over the decades and evolving with its time, so as to always be in sync with women’s social roles, through the eras the panther was able to conquer many leading personalities, among them Daisy Fellowes, Nina Dyer, Barbara Hutton and other key figures of contemporary elegance.
Étourdissant Cartier Collection bracelet, 18k yellow gold, emeralds, rock crystal, onyx, diamonds
Inspiration: This bracelet can be understood as a contemporary and creative celebration of the Cartier modern style codes. A style imagined by Louis Cartier at the dawn of the twentieth century, combining abstract geometric shapes and bold color combinations.
Photography by Emerald Carroll for The Stone Set