Luxury is freedom

From Gold and Orient

By Micha Christos




October 21, 2021 - February 20, 2022


Cartier and the Arts of Islam

At the sources of modernity

Head ornament

Cartier, New York, Circa 1924

Platinum, white gold, pink gold, diamonds, feathers

Marian Gérard Collection Cartier © Cartier









This exhibition presented at the Museum of Decorative Arts shows the influences of Islamic arts on the production of jewelry and precious objects, from the Maison de Haute Joaillerie Cartier, from the beginning of the 20th century to the present day.

More than 500 pieces from Maison Cartier, masterpieces of Islamic art, are on display to trace the origin of the interest in oriental motifs.


Founded in 1847 by Louis-François Cartier, the House specializes in the sale of jewelry and works of art. His son Alfred resumed the activity and in 1898 associated with his son Louis, who was passionate about pieces of Islamic art which were very fashionable at the time following major exhibitions at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris and also in Munich.

Diadem — Cartier, London 1936 Platinum, diamonds,

turquoise Vincent Wulveryck

Collection Cartier © Cartier

In search of new sources of inspiration, Louis immersed himself in the patterns and forms of this art and his son Jacques continued this path with his travels, notably in India from 1911. He left to meet the Princes in search of pearls and precious stones. He develops a clientele of Maharajahs, he collects old jewelry to resell them and imagines collections with new manufacturing techniques. The remarkable flexibility of Indian jewelry gives rise to innovations in terms of frames and assemblies. At the start of the 20th century, Cartier also used oriental textiles for its bags and accessories. From 1904, the House was inspired by geometric compositions from the art of Islam and became one of the precursors of the style later referred to as Art Deco. These creations bring Cartier fully into modernity. Louis Cartier's artistic direction is marked by books from the Iranian world. He creates from central medallions adorned with florets, he breaks down and recomposes innovative patterns in his associations of colors and materials. He thus combines lapis lazuli and turquoise, jade and emerald for his famous peacock decoration.


In this spirit, Jeanne Toussaint developed in the 1930s her famous Tutti frutti long necklaces inspired by the Indian world.


For the first time, the process of creating a great jewelry house is highlighted with a great wealth of archives,

drawings and photographic funds.

A pure showpiece, a dream come true.


Cartier drapery necklace, Paris, commissioned in 1947

Gold, platinum, diamonds, amethysts, turquoises

Order from the Duke of Windsor for the Duchess of Windsor

Nils Herrmann Collection Cartier © Cartier

Cigarette case (detail) Cartier Paris 1930 - Gold, platinum, lapis lazuli, turquoise, diamonds

Nils Herrmann Collection Cartier © Cartier

Iran cladding panel Late 14th - 15th century

Ceramic mosaic Paris, Louvre museum, department of

Islamic Arts, deposit of the Museum of Decorative Arts, Paris

© 2010 musée du Louvre /

Raphaël Chipault