Magnificent Cartier Paris Edwardian Garland Style Diamond Devant-de-Corsage Newly Acquired by the Victoria & Albert Museum

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Image courtesy Victoria and Albert Museum, London

By Clive Kandel

Unlike USA museums, British museums accept magnificent works of art in lieu of taxes owed, subject to government approval. The process avoids the complications of acquiring items though dealers and self-interest individuals. This Cartier Paris 1908 devant-de-corsage is a fine example of such an arrangement made with the Victoria and Albert Museum London.

This Garland Style diamond and platinum brooch-pendant is an outstanding example of a convertible early twentieth-century jewel. It is complete in its original case with two different brooch fittings and a screwdriver to enable it to be used in any one of three ways; as a necklace, brooch-pendant or brooch. It was made to be presented in its case as a brooch-pendant, a broche draperie or a brooch with garlands draped from two separate elements. It has all the qualities of flexibility and lightness which made Cartier famous in the early years of the twentieth century, when the firm led the way in the use of thin-gauge platinum settings which replaced the heavier silver settings used for diamonds in the 19th century.

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