A rare art deco black lacquer bangle, by Cartier,
Lot 148
A rare art deco black lacquer bangle, by Cartier,
Sold for £96,000 (US$ 150,220) inc. premium

Lot Details
A rare art deco black lacquer bangle, by Cartier, circa 1935
The sprung black lacquer cuff, applied to the front with three detachable diamond floral clips, set throughout with old brilliant, brilliant and single-cut diamonds, diamonds approximately 10.80 carats total, signed Cartier Paris, numbered, French assay marks, inner diameter 5.6cm.

Footnotes

  • In 1934, Cartier launched its black lacquer cuff bangle with detachable diamond clips. It was striking, sculptural, bold and modern; the purity of precious white diamonds juxtaposed with the stark black lacquer gloss was a masterpiece in monochrome simplicity and the jewel fast became a best selling line in London, Paris and New York.

    The consummate skill and artistry of Chinese and Japanese lacquer work had been greatly admired in the West from the 17th century and Cartier successfully integrated this difficult technique with the taste for art deco. It was also a practical choice because when dry, lacquer is resistant to abrasion and damage by water and acid.

    By mounting clips onto a bangle and thereby creating two jewels in one, Cartier 'fulfilled the trend for justifying a luxury article by its function' (Nadelhoffer, Cartier, 'Jewelers Extraordinary', London, 1984). Although the Wall Street Crash of 1929 had contributed to the worldwide financial slump of the 1930s, paradoxically this was also the decade in which Cartier created numerous masterpieces and these transformable jewels helped persuade the buyer that the expense was worthwhile. Customers could commission a bangle fitting to be designed around their existing clip jewels.

    The bangle offered here is a rare survivor from this period of technical ingenuity and the epitome of late art deco style. The floral clips are similar in execution to a flower clip bangle created by special order by Cartier Paris in 1939 and now in the Cartier Collection.

    See 'The Cartier Collection Jewelry', with text by François Chaille from notes and writing by Éric Nussbaum, Flammarion, 2004, pp 201-204 and p231 and Rudoe, Judy, 'Cartier 1900-1939', London, 1997, p 61 and pp 330-331, for design drawings of various bangles
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