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High Jewelry Jumps off the Page in These Lavishly Illustrated Books

Make room on your coffee table and bookshelves for these new books focusing on the house of Cartier – newly published by Flammarion and distributed by Rizzoli. Here’s what you might enjoy in these new tomes.

The world of bespoke jewelry can be quite secretive. There are many one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces that jewelry lovers never get to see because the pieces are sometimes spoken for by private clients, before they’ve even been finished, and they are therefore not displayed at the store. These new books by Flammarion, focusing on the prestigious house of Cartier, give a glimpse into some of those pieces. Enjoy delving into the intricacies of jewelry creation, from drawing and gem selection, to setting and polishing; learn about the inspiration behind each piece; and get awed by the historical connections certain gems have which are used in the jewelry.

Cartier 13 Rue de la Paix

Cartier: 13 Rue de la Paix” by Francois Chaille is a celebration of the completion of the Parisian flagship’s two-year renovation. New era, new elements of décor. But when the store originally opened in 1899, Louis Cartier’s vision was that the store would always be revered for its jewelry and watches. And that vision continues today. The freshened-up flagship store combines historical details, such as decorative moldings and Hausmann-inspired light fixtures, with interiors punctuated with bright, contemporary accents. The glass roof floods the six floors with light.

As you flip through the pages and chapters, you’ll learn about key aspects of the design process for the interior – from wood carvings to wallpaper and gilding – in addition to seeing iconic pieces of jewelry from the archives which are previously unpublished in print.

Cartier Beautes du Mondes

Cartier: Beautés de Monde: High Jewelry and Precious Objects” is another page turner for high jewelry aficionados. It focuses on individual pieces and how each piece was conceived from start to finish. The book goes into intense detail about the new creations by the house and, by using two paper stocks and booklet inserts, the book illustrates the creation of some of the jewelry pieces. For example, a Chinese puzzle box reveals a kaleidoscopic ring, and a coral reef inspires a flamboyant necklace – two extraordinary pieces that took months to make.

“Cartier sees beauty everywhere,” says the book’s preface. “A great art lover and collector, Louis Cartier regenerated French jewelry by embracing the splendors of traditional Russian, Islamic, and Asian aesthetics. At a time when the ‘exotic’ was an excuse for simplifying or even caricaturing fashion, he gave this passion for distant lands and cultures a new dignity,” continues the preface.

Cartier Tank Watch

Watch connoisseurs, Cartier has you covered with “The Cartier Tank Watch”, by Franco Cologni. It will help you understand the ins and outs of the watch that continues to hold its value and never goes out of style. The Tank watch was created in 1917 by Louis Cartier and was an overnight success. Its sleek design heralded the beginning of modern watchmaking, combining geometry and harmony.

Immediately recognizable on a wrist, the Tank watch has been reinterpreted for more than a century, but each model is forever faithful to the spirit of the original design. Archival documents, previously unpublished photographs and other Tank trivia are spread throughout the book. For example, the Tank required a much more delicate and complex system to waterproof the corners of the case. The second model, unveiled in 1932, was a reversible watch whose backside, when flipped over, protected the dial during athletic activities. In 2005, decades after the first watch was introduced, Cartier began producing its watches from start to finish at La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland on its way to become a vertically integrated high watchmaking manufactory. Outrageous designs never defined the Tank watch and the Tank remains a constant symbol of sleek chic for anyone lucky enough to own one.

Isabelle KelloggIn addition to a career in communications and marketing focused on the luxury lifestyle sector, including co-authoring and lecturing a case study on French heritage jeweler Mauboussin with Harvard Business School, Isabelle continues to share her experiences about fine art, wine, travel, jewelry and culture as a freelance writer for internationally based digital publications.