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  • Harry Fane

Not what it says on the package

Another high price was achieved last week by Christie’s New York for this vintage Cartier bracelet, CHF 610,000. A beautiful Paris 1930s creation, it was erroneously described as ‘Tutti Frutti’ in the catalogue..First, as discussed before, this term ‘Tutti Frutti’ is a cheap, manufactured moniker for jewels which are undoubtedly some of Cartier’s greatest creations. Originally known as ‘Hindou’ jewels in recognition of the source of the carved gem stones which make up the designs which was India. These beautifully coloured and intricately carved ‘leaves’ were a significant ‘by product’ of Cartier’s earliest forays to the sub-Continent. Primarily, Cartier was looking for pearls and important gemstones and the fabulously wealthy Maharajas who they wanted as clients and they came away with handfuls or carved gems which they cleverly transformed into remarkable pieces of jewellery.

To-day, the auction houses, in their rush to ‘package’ every work of art they sell into something more appealing than it might in fact be, find that adding the ‘Tutti Frutti’ moniker anywhere they can, creates a guaranteed high price for that particular jewel.

This bracelet whilst attractive and colourful and with the carved emerald ‘leaves’ associated with true ‘Hindou’ jewels, probably should have been more accurately described as a diamond panel bracelet set with carved emeralds and ruby beads...

How sexy does that sound compared to ‘Tutti Frutti’..?? Not very. However, when this bracelet is put side by side with real Cartier ‘Hindou’ jewels, it cannot compare nor compete.

Can we, anyhow, try and get away from this nasty (non Cartier) moniker once and for all?? It doesn’t serve these remarkable pieces of jewellery well at all.

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