Thursday, March 11, 2010



This exhibition at the Legion of Honor demonstrates the enduring connections between France and the United States through a wonderful array of Cartier jewelry, clocks, and works of art that were either supplied to Americans or made here between 1902 and 2007.

The Legion of Honor

 The view looking back towards the San Francisco Bay.

  Setting up for a Winter Gala.

Once inside I was dismayed to discover that photos would not be allowed.

But after checking out the book selections in the Museum Shop, I did my best to sneak in a couple shots to share with you.

I know, it's kind of an eclectic collection of photos but it was all I could get between dodging the docents and security detail!

This flamboyant and exotic "la dolfina" was made as special order.  It is set with 1,028 brilliant-cut diamonds and has emeralds for eyes.

Cartier Paris, 1914
Diamonds, onyx, pearls, platinum, and enamel

Virginia Graham Fair Vanderbilt was one of Cartier's patrons in the Gilded Age.  She appears in this 1905 portrait by Giovanni Boldini wearing the typically elaborate dress of the period.

A special order for Maria Felix, this necklace, set with 2,473 diamonds, marks the culmination of Cartier's work in modeling animals for jewelry.  When handled, the necklace mimics the slitheriness and weight of a real snake with hundreds of individual sections that are hinged internally.  To enhance the sensation of snakeskin and protect the wearer, the inside segments of the necklace are enameled.

Nancy Leeds, who is shown in the picture, commissioned this frame in 1910.  Widow of the tin millionaire William B. Leeds, she became Princess Anastasia of Greece in 1920.

Legend has it that the Mexican movie star Maria Felix appeared at Cartier's rue de la Paix store with a baby crocodile as a model for this necklace.  The result was a dramatic, masterly creation that could be worn as two brooches or as a necklace.  Each crocodile is made of articulated gold sections.  One is set with 1,023 yellow diamonds and has emerald eyes; the other has 1,060 emeralds and ruby eyes.

And finally a photo of a pair of HOT 70 year olds... My Mom and our friend Maggy who love jewelry more than any 2 women I know!!

*Excerpts taken from Cartier and America by Martin Chapman


Paris Hotel Boutique said...

OMG Therese! I just went last week. It's insane, right? I was almost at a point where I wanted to say ENOUGH! I can't see anymore!

I am so excited that you snuck those fab photos! How great is that? Amazing! Thanks for sharing!

Patti's Artful Design said...

That tiara is to die for! Great picts! Thanks for stopping by my blog for a visit, Therese!

Kathysue said...

Hi Terri, I can only imagine how wonderful it was to see this all in person. Amazing art not just jewelry it is truly art. our Mom and Maggy are beaurtiful ladies, unbelieveable for 70yrs young.Kathysue

Cashon&Co said...

i LOVE Cartier. I wish I could of gone myself!!! Those snake pieces are awesome.

savvycityfarmer said...

it's heavy ....

but oh so beautiful ... to the eye of the behold-er

missn your voice

Beach House Living said...

You did an amazing job of snapping photos. What an amazing exhibit.

Tracy Watier said...

So did you order up one of those dolfinas for yourself?
As beautiful as everything is in your photos, I imagine, in person, it was all just stunning. And in a gorgeous building to boot.
See you Sunday!

ashlina {the decorista} said...

WOW. wish i could have been there. thanks for sharing.

Erica Cook said...

Fantastic photos! Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend! xo

Splendid Willow said...

Therese, you just brought back great memories! We used to visit the Legion of Honor often when we lived in SF. Always lovely exhibitons and the lunch restaurant was great (at lest 8 years ago)! Had I still lived in the area, I would so have trotted along. And I would have stared at those lovely diamond encrusted alligators for a very long time. And at those 70 year old ladies who look more like 50!

Happy weekend, dear!