By Anthony de Marco in New York
Marjorie Merriweather Post has gone down in history as one of the most important collectors of Cartier jewellery. The heiress to a vast cereal empire, she supported the Parisian luxury jeweller from the 1920s right through to the 1960s, and for the first time her Cartier jewellery and accessories collection is going on display at the most appropriate place for such a viewing: her former Washington, D.C. address, Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens.
The exhibition Marjorie Merriweather Post's Dazzling Gems runs from 7 June 2014 until the end of the year and includes some of Cartier's most important pieces. Several formed part of Cartier Le Style et l'Histoire exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris earlier this year, while others have been shown intermittently at the Hillwood Estate. This is the first time, however, that the entire collection has been given its own dedicated exhibition.
These are big, bold period pieces showing exceptional craftsmanship and variety. Art Deco themes are well represented, while some pieces have far more exotic inspirations. The exhibition includes portraits of Mrs Post wearing some of her favourite Cartier jewels.
One of the main attractions is a diamond, platinum and enamel shoulder brooch, dating from 1928, set with seven carved Indian emeralds, at least one of which dates back to the 17th century Mughal Empire.
A diamond and sapphire necklace from 1936/37, with its precise geometric form, is a fine example of the Art Deco pieces for which Cartier is famed.
A hot item in today's auction market, a three-strand Caro Yamaoka pearl necklace circa 1963 is centred with a large, fringed platinum and diamond clasp.
Elaborate carvings are a mainstay of the collection, and one of the most creative pieces is a necklace and earrings set featuring 18 faceted amethysts of varying sizes and shapes, with carved turquoise and diamonds set in gold and platinum.
Alongside the Cartier jewels in the collection are elaborate objets d'art, including a carved jade tobacco box decorated with gold, enamel and sapphires; a silver monogrammed box with jade and coral; and a silver, enamel and glass dressing table set.
Combining the craftsmanship of one of the world's greatest jewellers with the refined tastes of one of the world's greatest jewellery collectors, the Marjorie Merriweather Post's Dazzling Gems exhibition is not to be missed.