Lynn Yaeger Gets Up Close With the Water Snake Necklace and Other Temptations at Cartier’s High Jewelry Presentation

It turns out that the fan you see in every stereotype of a dancing senorita is not just a cliché—it is 107 degrees the day I arrive in Madrid, people are waving these things on the street, and there is even one in my room at the Four Seasons, where I am staying because I am on a Cartier high jewelry trip to Spain! Which means I get to stay in hotels I could only walk by in my real life—or maybe stop in for a drink (if someone else is paying).

Anyway it is hot here, but who cares? Shortly after we arrive a car takes us to a building called The Embassy, a Brutalist edifice from the 1960s that Cartier has restored. We have lunch here, in what I believe is a pop-up restaurant Cartier has opened for one day only, and then we go upstairs to see the jewels, which is the real reason we are in town, though in my case there are also visions of antiques in the Ramblas and espadrille shopping dancing behind my eyes.

High jewelry means only one of each had been created, or as we like to say in retail, once it’s sold, it’s sold. What would I buy if I had the chance? Well, maybe the blue-and-white Water Snake necklace, a serpent that wraps the neck with five cabochon Ceylon sapphires, a 4.49 carat diamond, and a plethora of other diamonds and lapis lazuli. Or Tepoz, a collection that contains the most spectacular bracelet of white gold Mozambique rubies and a surfeit of diamonds, and that turns out to be a wristwatch. I am deeply attracted to a dressing-table box of rock crystal whose lid is comprised of white gold, onyx, diamonds, and rubies (the top lifts off to become a brooch—it’s practical!) And then there is the Panthere Erindi, an undeniable wacky triumph—when was the last time you saw polka dots of onyx suspended in rock crystal, along with almost 10 carats of rectangular Columbian emeralds?

A dressing-table box of rock crystal whose lid is comprised of white gold, onyx, diamonds, and rubies, the top of which lifts off to become a brooch. Photo: Courtesy of Cartier

Lucas Horenburg

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