Cartier Royal: High Jewelry and Precious Objects

Image of Cartier Royal: High Jewelry and Precious Objects
Release Date: 
March 17, 2015
Reviewed by: 

Without question, the only language that should be used to describe this unimaginably beautiful volume is with a vocabulary of superlatives. This is the kind of book that gives new meaning to the genre of coffee table books as well as any book dealing with haute joallier.

Firstly, the physicality of this monograph is superb. From the paper to the quality of the photographs to its size, this is more than one could ask for.

As for the text, there is no disputing that if the reader is a bit more informed on the topic, then the verbiage will be of greater import. The language and content is informational, educational, and staggering to the imagination of the reader. Be aware that Chaille uses terminology that is directly related to the world of fine jewelry so you may need to have a working knowledge of this segment of jewels if you want complete comprehension.

The content is full of facts about this rarefied aspect of jewelry. Few books will give not only the details of these works of art but trace the stones themselves from the areas of the world, to the mines to the cutters, and through the string of eventual owners.

As was the wont of past generations, finished pieces were reworked and reconfigured to meet the esthetic needs of the owner at their time of ownership. Case in point was Barbara Hutton’s “engagement” ring which looked to have a flat top surface compatible to that of a quarter or a half dollar. This klieg light of a ring (Pasha Diamond) was recut several times but retained practically all of its carat weight (approximately 35 carats). The same goes for tiaras and all sorts royal accoutrements and accessories that were reworked and reconfigured during their lives.

Cartier has a long history of catering to royalty. You will learn that this royalty was not only confined to the genealogical or genetic variety but also included Hollywood royalty, far eastern potentates, tsars, maharajahs, the anonymously and wildly wealthy, and those who were just fixated on owning the most extravagant pieces with the world’s finest and rarest of stones. Some of the stones and the pieces in which they were incorporated possess legends and stories worthy of their own books.

Not only do you get to see the most amazing past creations from the Maison of Cartier but there is a section which offers a taste of future pieces which will memorialize the art, tradition, and craft of the maison. These will include decorative objects, clocks, and new masterpieces of jewelry that will now become part of Cartier’s legacy for future generations.

The reader can choose between owning a conversation piece/coffee table book which will offer countless moments of visual enjoyment or possessing a catalog containing some of the world’s most spellbinding gemological wonders. Either way this is a book that can satisfy on so many levels from the most superficial to the most detailed and intellectual.