Lareef A. Samad - B.Sc (Hons)
The 71.5 cm long sautoir necklace designed by Cartier London in 1926, is considered as ranking among Cartier's greatest achievements in designing.
Cartier's Art Deco Emerald and Diamond Sautoir
The necklace shows distinct features of the Art Deco period and is considered as a fine example of the geometric creations of this period that has fortunatley escaped remodelling and still preserves the exceptional features originating from the inspiration of the Art Deco jewelry designers of the period such as Baloche, Rauline and Thomas, who worked for Cartier.
A sautoir necklace is a very long chain or beaded Rope Necklace, often terminating in tassels dangling from each end or sometimes a single detachable pendant, worn frequently looped around the neck, and sometimes worn scarflike over one shoulder or down the back. The sautoir, originally developed around the turn of the 19th century, experienced a revival in the early 1900s during the Edwardian/Belle Epoque periods, and continued in popularity through the 1920s with "flapper" necklaces. One popular version of the sautoir necklace during the Edwardian period consisted of woven or twisted ropes of pearls suspending a tassel. The sautoir eventually progressed towards geometric, diamond and gem-set sautoirs, with a wide variety of designs during the Art Deco period, such as the Cartier's Art Deco Emerald and Diamond Sautoir, the subject of this webpage.
Wide dog collar and long sautoir pearl necklaces worn by Queen Alexandra, queen consort of King Edward VII (1901-1910)
At the 2010 annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, Kate Hudson wore a Cartier sautoir dangling down her back, just as fashionable flappers did in the 1920s to accentuate their low-cut evening gowns.
Kate Hudson wearing a backless Emilio Pucci dress and a Cartier diamond sautoir necklace worn down her back at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, 2010
The long necklace, known as a sautoir is 71.5 cm long and carries a shield-shaped detachable pendant 8.0 cm long. Materials used in the necklace and pendant, such as platinum, emeralds and diamonds are all characteristic of the Art Deco period, that extended from around 1920 to 1935.
Shield-shaped emerald and diamond pendant and two hexagonal motifs from which it is suspended
The most striking features of the necklace are its symmetry and the use of geometric shapes in the design.
The detachable stylized shield-shaped pendant is broadly composed of a rectangle and triangle set with cut-cornered rectangle-cut and square-cut emerald and circular-cut diamonds. The triangular part of the shield is set with a square-cut emerald in the center, surrounded by about 35 smaller, circular-cut diamonds.
Another view of the shield-shaped pendant and the hexagonal-shaped motifs
The rectangular part of the shield is set with a central large rectangle-cut emerald and two smaller rectangle-cut emeralds on either side, surrounded by 52 smaller circular-cut diamonds. The link between the triangular and rectangular part of the shield is set with 11 circular-cut diamonds.
The upper part of the shield-shaped pendant which is a navicular-shaped link, providing the link to the two arms of the necklace is set with 22 smaller circular-cut diamonds. Overall the central rectangle, the lower triangle and the upper navicular-shaped link gives the pendant a shield-shape
The lower part of the necklace consists of six somewhat shield-shaped, but more hexagonal-shaped motifs seperated by octagonal-shaped spacers pave- set with diamond and joined by oblong-shaped links. Motifs of similar shape and size, are placed in symmetrical position on either side of the median line of the necklace. Thus there are three motifs on either side of the necklace.
Close-up of hexagonal motifs from which the shield-shaped pendant is suspended
The two motifs directly connected to the pendant on either side are the smallest of the six motifs. Each of these motifs incorporating a navicular-shaped center and two triangles on either side, are approximately hexagonal in shape, and set with a cut-cornered rectangular-cut emerald in the center surrounded by 17 circular-cut diamonds. Each of the triangles on either side are set with 8 circular-cut diamonds. The diamond spacer between the shield-shaped pendant and the two hexagonal-shaped motifs on either side, is circular in shape, pave-set with 10 circular-cut diamonds
There are four hexagonal-shaped motifs in the middle of the necklace. These motifs are elongated hexagonal-shaped unlike the motifs directly attached to the pendant.
Hexagonal-shaped motifs in the middle of the necklace
Each of these elongated hexagonal-shaped motifs incorporating a navicular-shaped center and two triangles on either side, are set with two cut-cornered, rectangular-cut emeralds in the center surrounded by 18 circular-cut diamonds. Each of the triangles on either side are again set with 8 circular-cut diamonds. The octagonal-shaped spacers pave-set with diamonds, between the hexagonal-shaped motifs are joined by oblong-shaped links, also pave-set with circular-cut diamonds.
The rear part of the necklace
The rear side of the necklace is described as a graduated diamond-set scroll link backchain enhanced with cabochon emerald collets. The last seven segments of the backchain on either side are plain, ending with a circular clasp.
Being a necklace designed by Cartier in 1926 during the Art Deco period that extended from around 1920 to around 1935, the necklace shows distinct Art Deco features. Some of these features are :-
1) The most striking Art Deco feature in the necklace is its perfect symmetry about a median line that divides the pendant into two equal halves. Perfectly matching motifs are placed on either side of this median line.
2) The other striking Art Deco feature in the necklace, is the incorporation of geometrical shapes not only in the design of the necklace but also in the cut of the emeralds and diamonds. The shield-shape of the pendant is composed of a rectangle, lower triangle and an upper navicular shape. The hexagonal-shaped motifs are composed of a central navicular shape and two triangles on either side. The diamond spacers are either octagonal-shaped or circular and the links are oblong-shaped. The 14 emeralds set in the necklace are either cut-cornered rectangle-cut or square-cut emeralds. All the diamonds used in the necklace are circular-cut diamonds.
3) The use of platinum metal in the necklace, first used in jewelry during the Edwardian period (1901-1910) and again regained its popularity after World War I during the Art Deco period.
4) The gemstones used in the necklace, diamonds and emeralds are two of the precious stones popular during the Art Deco period apart from rubies and sapphires.
The Cartier's Art Deco Emerald and Diamond Sautoir Necklace, said to be the property of an anonymous Princess, appeared at the Christie's Magnificent Jewels Sale held in Geneva on November 12, 2013. The sautoir necklace was accompanied by a lab report bearing No. 69867 and dated September 23, 2013 issued by SSEF the Swiss Gemological Institute, stating that 14 emeralds in the necklace are all of Colombian origin with indications of minor to moderate amount of oil, an accepted form of treatment for emeralds to fill cracks and fissures known as "jardin."
The exact mine in Colombia from which the emeralds were sourced is not known. But, given the fact that the green color of Colombian emeralds seem to vary slightly with the source, one may make an intelligent guess on the mine of origin of the emeralds. According to Ron Ringsrud who did a study of the Coscuez mine and wrote the article "The Coscuez Mine : A Major Source of Colombian Emeralds" - "In Colombia, the different mines are known to produce emeralds that differ slightly in color, tone, and clarity. Muzo emeralds tend to be a well-saturated slightly yellowish green, while Chivor emeralds are generally less saturated and more bluish green. Dealers in Bogota maintain that the best crystals (in terms of clarity and "life") come from Gachala. About Coscuez, though, these same dealers have a saying: "From Coscuez comes a little of every (Colombian) mine."There is no one specific hue or degree of clarity associated with Coscuez emeralds;rather, a variety of hues occur, some of which are illustrated in figure 11. Sometimes Coscuez crystals are lively, clean, and lightly saturated in color like those from Gachala, sometimes the material is very bluish like Chivor, and sometimes there is absolutely no difference from Muzo color and quality."
A study of the images of the 14 emeralds in the Cartier's Art Deco Emerald and Diamond Sautoir Necklace shows that these emeralds have a well-saturated but slightly yellowish-green color. Hence the emeralds in the necklace most probably originated in the Muzo emerald mines. Muzo emeralds are known for their beauty, and within the trade they are known for their color and size.
The fact that all the 14 emeralds in the necklace show indications of minor to moderate amount of oil, shows that the clarity of the emeralds is average, which is in keeping with the clarity of Muzo emeralds. The best emeralds in terms of clarity are the Gachala emeralds.
The origins of the Art Deco movement can be found in the early years of the 20th Century. In 1906, the well-known Parisian jeweller Louis Cartier encouraged his best designers Baloche, Rauline and Thomas to venture for the first time into abstract and geometric forms. Calibre-cut coloured stones in simple squares, polygons and lozenges made a timid appearance to the detriment of the firm's “style guirlande”.
During the Art Deco period radical transformation occured in the feminine silhouette, modern woman being liberated from the corset, freed from long skirts and large and unwieldly hats. Paul Poiret's new fashions in the early 20th-century which eliminated the plunging neckline, led to the decrease in popularity of bodice jewelry by 1910, and the dog collar becoming outdated. The long diamond chain, harbinger of the heavy sautoir of the late 1920s made its appearance around this time. Jewelers of the time tried to keep pace with the transformation in haute couture by developing new styles and designs, leading to a productive dialogue between the two sectors. The strong ties developed between the two sectors led Cartier to exhibit at the haute couture “Pavillon d'Elgance” during the 1925 Paris exhibition, instead of at the Grand Palais with the other jewellers.
Jewelry designers of the Art Deco period were not only influenced by the artistic traditions of Europe but also sought inspiration from exotic and oriental civilizations. The taste and fascination for the exotic and the orient started as far back as 1853-54, when Commodore Matthew Perry led an expedition to Japan, once again encouraging the trade with the far-off country and establishing the taste for "Japonisme." In 1909, Sergei de Diaghilev's "Ballets Russes" opened in Paris. The colourful and often Oriental-style costumes worn by the ballerinos and ballerinas were avidly followed by fashion and jewellery designers alike. Haute Couture adopted all things Oriental in 1923, after the Chinese Ball at the Paris Opera. The interest in Oriental art offered European artists and designers a new source of stylistic motifs and they adapted, in their own fashion, the decorative elements inspired by various sources: from Moghul flowers to the Arabic decorations. It seemed that the development of magazines and books offered increasing possibilities for the knowledge of artistic expressions different from those of the West.
During the late 1920s and early 1930s, Cartier's London house overshadowed the Paris firm in the production of large necklaces. Most of them were diamond or coloured stone sautoirs, of which an astonishing number were sold in England. The Cartier's Art Deco Emerald and Diamond Sautoir, dated 1926, is one of the great necklaces of the period, demonstrating the incredible quality of the designers of the time, who perfectly combined Oriental inspiration with Western production standards to create such a jewel which after almost 90 years, is still of outstanding modernity.
The Cartier's Art Deco Emerald and Diamond Sautoir, said to be the property of a Princess, appeared at the Christie's Geneva Magnificent Jewels Sale 1400, held on November 12, 2013. The Sautoir Necklace was assigned Lot No. 254 at the auction and a pre-sale estimate of US$ 2,884,354 - $3,896,599 was placed on the lot, which eventually sold for US $3,350,231 between the estimated range.
You are welcome to discuss this post/related topics with Dr Shihaan and other experts from around the world in our FORUMS (forums.internetstones.com)
1) An Art Deco Emerald and Diamond Sautoir, By Cartier
2) Sautoir - by Troy Segal - www.antiques.about.com
3) Sautoir - Antique Jewelry University - www.langantiques.com
Dr Shihaan Larif
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