Hong Kong Palace Museum reveals the art of ‘Cartıer and Women’
Dedicated to the women who’ve played a central role in the history and creativity of Paris’s most prestigious watch and jewellery maison, Cartier and Women gathers 300 breathtaking objects from its archives, alongside fascinating and unique insights, personal stories and historical background.
“Women are part of Cartier’s essence,” Cyrille Vigneron, president and CEO of Cartier, commented at the exhibition opening. He described Cartier and Women as “an exploratory journey into femininity as a whole”, with characteristics and qualities as multifaceted as the most splendid of diamonds, “bold, strong, daring, as well as delicate and sensitive”.
Showcasing not only the impact significant women had on the art of Cartier, but also the influence of Chinese aesthetics on the maison’s creations, the exhibition features jewellery, timepieces, historic materials and artefacts from the 19th century through to today, including many priceless items with remarkable provenance.
On display you’ll discover jewellery belonging to countless renowned female figures. Notable names include the Duchess of Windsor, Princess Grace of Monaco, Countess Mountbatten of Burma, pioneering French couturier Jeanne Paquin, heiresses Barbara Hutton and Daisy Fellowes, actress Elizabeth Taylor, Taiwan’s Brigitte Lin and Hong Kong’s own Carina Lau and Macau businesswoman Pansy Ho.
Divided into four themed sections, the exhibition starts with a celebration of Royal and Aristocratic Women: Elegance and Prestige. With exhibits dating back to the 1800s, this section includes pieces specially commissioned and acquired by Cartier’s myriad royal, aristocratic and noble female patrons, such as Queen Alexandra, who was married to England’s Edward VII and was a loyal client of Cartier, in 1904 granting the jeweller its first royal warrant.
A particular highlight of the Royal and Aristocratic Women section is a 1907 platinum tiara adorned with pearls and diamonds that once belonged to Princess Marie Bonaparte, great-grandniece of Emperor Napoleon I of France and heiress to a vast real estate fortune. Another must-see is a flamboyant head ornament purchased in 1924 at Cartier New York—a Jazz Age confection in platinum, white and pink gold, embellished with diamonds and feathers.
“The exhibition will lead visitors on a journey that explores a series of captivating stories between these stunning treasures and many legendary women—past and present—tracing the contribution of women to Cartier’s history,” says Henry Tang, chairman of the West Kowloon Cultural District. “We hope visitors can appreciate these wonderful pieces that marry eastern and western aesthetics, and at the same time be mesmerised by the creativity and history of women embodied in them.”