Cartier was founded in Paris in 1847 by Louis-François Cartier. His three grandsons, Louis, Pierre, and Jacques, built the house into a famous international jewelry empire serving royalty, Hollywood stars, and socialites. Cartier has created some of the most important jewelry and objects of art of the twentieth century with many iconic designs such as mystery clocks, Tutti Frutti jewelry and the Panthère line. In 1983, The Cartier Collection was established with the objective of acquiring important pieces that trace the firm’s artistic evolution. Today, Cartier has 200 stores in 125 countries.
Cloaks have been in use since the start of civilization as a portable means for covering the body and keeping it warm. Even the earliest cloaks needed a simple clasp, a means of pining the material to the body, likely inspiring the first brooches. By the sixteenth century, cloaks had become fashionable status symbols that were cut, shaped, sewn, lined, and fastened with a brooch or chain. By the early twentieth century, great coats were more popular for daily use, but beautiful cloaks in velvet, silk, cashmere, and wool, such as the ones designed by Paul Poiret, were draped over elegant evening wear.
This Cartier cloak clasp was designed as the perfect accessory for an elegant evening cloak. While the form of the cloak is steeped in history, this modern clasp was designed with the pure geometry favored in the Art Deco period. The jewel is essentially a massing of circle forms, from the use of round diamonds, to coral batons in cylinder form (extruded circles), and the use of semi-circles of both diamonds and coral. The original Cartier drawing demonstrates the precision of an engineer in creating the curves of this masterful jewel. One side of the clip is smaller than the other, but the considered placement of elements within the design creates a balance within the slight asymmetry.
Created with versatility in mind, the clasp converts into two dress clips, one slightly larger than the other, that can be worn pinned to an elegant neckline or clipped to the waist or shoulder. This magnificent cloak clasp is the only known example of a convertible Cartier Art Deco cloak clasp and would be an important addition to any collection.