How Cartier was inspired by Iran, India, Arabia & North Africa
Western creativity owes a lot to the Islamic world, after all.
An article by Smithsonian Magazine draws glamorous parallels between Islamic Art and the world's best jewelry companies.
The article starts off by writing that Cartier, for 175 years, has been synonymous with French high-end allure. Little do people know is that the brand is inspired by "intricate Islamic art."
This was salient at an exhibition at the Dallas Museum of Art, which explores how Islamic art brought Carter to life, rendering it a household name internationally. The exhibition, which goes under the name, "Cartier and Islamic Art: In Search of Modernity," and will be around till September 18, displays 400 objects, from photographs to works of art to tell of Cartier's fashion evolution.
At the turn of the 20th century, the Cartier brothers, Louis, Pierre, and Jacques attended events that showcased Middle Eastern art and antiques in prominent cities in Europe. They were attended by Louis Cartier, whose grandfather, Jacques Cartier, founded the company in 1847. Louis became fascinated with the colors, patterns, shapes, and structure of Islamic art. Jacques had also developed a taste for Islamic art after visiting India between 1911 and 1912.
Cartier, upon expanding the business around the world, began integrating Islamic art into their bracelets, watches, brooches, necklaces, rings, clocks, and other items.
To develop Cartier's signature style, the Cartier brothers mustered their brand inspiration from Iran, North Africa, India, and the Arabian Peninsula. The style evolved from neoclassicism to Art Nouveau, to Art Deco.
Imitating traditional Mughal Indian jewelry, Cartier's Tutti Frutti line in the 1920s through the 1930s integrated rubies, emeralds, and sapphires in the shapes of flowers, berries, and leaves.
Cartier's most famous piece of jewelry is the 45.52 blue Hope Diamond, mined by the end of the 17th century in the Islamic Golconda Kingdom, a part of modern-day India. Jean-Baptise Tavernier, who brought the diamond to France, used to travel to and from India and Persia during his time - his description of the Islamic world was used to justify colonial expansion in North Africa and India.