A jewelled and gold mounted hardstone flower study by Cartier,

France, circa 1910.


Its Belle Époque flower studies are amongst Cartier’s rarest and most complex creations, fusing Asiatic and Russian inspirations, particularly those of Fabergé, they possess a unique style and celebrate the skills of Cartier’s early suppliers. This blooming pink hydrangea, with characteristic opaline glass petals, has a patinated silver stalk, bearing five elegantly carved green aventurine quartz leaves, the circular agate pot, filled with brown and black agate simulating earth, is elevated on four legs secured to it with gold brackets held with with rose diamond topped, all stood on a white onyx topped wooden plinth and contained within a glass hothouse. Cartier’s highly stylised flowers incorporate subtle elements of naturalism. Some of the hydrangea’s petals have blue tints indicating a touch of acidity to soil. Two of the leaves and the soil within the pot are mounted with moonstone dew drops. The schiller of the stones perfectly presenting the transitory drops of water found in nature.



Sold Cartier London, circa 1910,
Private British Aristocratic collection.

The award-winning lapidary workshop of Berquin-Varangoz produced Cartier’s flower studies, it was located in 1910 in Bondy, Northeast of Paris. A variant of the hydrangea is the first colour illustration of Hans Nadelhoffer’s seminal study Cartier Jewellers Extraordinary (London, 1984), plate1. Judy Rudoe, curator of the British Museum, references the rarity of Cartier flower studies in her catalogue accompanying the Museum’s Cartier exhibition is 1997. She poignantly comments ‘Sadly very few identified Cartier flowers survive’, Cartier 1900-1939, British Museum Press (London, 1997), p104.