Sparkling century

A new book reveals how Cartier became the last word in luxury, by showcasing some of its finest creations
In 1937 poet Paul Claudel described gemstones as ‘spirit made matter’. And he was well placed to comment, for his son had married the daughter of jeweller Pierre Cartier. Cartier In The 20th Century chronicles the luxury house’s rise to pre-eminence through its striking, trend-setting designs. From jewellery to timepieces to decorative objects, each piece is valuable not only for its stones, but for the stories it holds.

Cartier-Oct24-01-5901. Necklace, created for Sir Bhupinder Singh, Maharaja of Patiala (1928) 2. Egyptian striking clock (1927) is set with mother-of-pearl, coral, emerald and lapis lazuli 3. Tutti Frutti strap bracelet (made in 1929) with diamonds, sapphires, emeralds and rubies. Sold to Mrs Cole Porter
Cartier-Oct24-02-5904. Cigarette case (1912) 5. A tiger lorgnette was made by special order for the Duchess of Windsor (1954) 6. Crocodile necklace commissioned by the Mexican actress María 7. This diamond and emerald necklace was made for Lady Granard by Cartier London (1932)
Cartier-Oct24-03-5908. Stomacher brooch of sapphires and diamonds (1907) 9. This desk set with a clock holds two fountain pens and a matching mechanical pencil (1931) 10. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor supplied many of the precious stones used in this flamingo brooch (1940) 11. Tutti Frutti double clip brooch, made for Mrs Cole Porter (1935)

Cartier In The 20th Century, by Margaret Young-Sánchez (Thames & Hudson, £45).