When we think of Cartier, we think of a luxury jewellery house steeped in French history and rich with precious stones and exceptional design. Even when you say the name Cartier, you may find yourself adding a little French flourish to your pronunciation.
But look a little closer and you will detect inspirations that originate in a land far away from European shores.
After studying Cartier jewellery’s geometric patterns, its emphasised symmetry and its exotic colour palette of golds, turquoises and opulent blues, it becomes apparent that, although the brand’s spiritual home may be in the boulevards of Paris, it has a truly deep connection to the Middle East.
Louis Cartier was the grandson of the brand’s founder Louis-Francois. An avid collector, Louis was particularly taken with Arabesque designs, and the calligraphic and floral patterns of Islamic art. He began to merge this old-world aesthetic with the lattice, squares and checks from the Modernism era, which led to a shaping of the house’s design principles.
His fascination for this decorative linear style became embedded in his mind and began to influence motifs and symbols that are still spotted throughout Cartier collections to this day. While Louis continued to add to his growing collection of Persian artefacts and Islamic art, it was his younger brother Jacques –who was an expert in precious stones – who travelled from France to the Gulf in 1911 to discover and bring home the true treasures of the Middle East: natural pearls. This was the pivotal moment when the dialogue between these two worlds opened up, eventually blossoming into a beautiful relationship that has lasted for decades.
Images courtesy of Cartier
From Harper's BAZAAR Arabia January 2020 Issue