Stranger Things: Cartier’s Magnitude high jewellery collection

Materials that should never have met come together in a collision of precious gems and ornamental hard stones with echoes of the past.

Cartier Magnitude Zemia matrix opal cuff

Cartier, the king of jewellers, may not be known as a rule-breaking rebel but through its veins runs a disruptive force. Even the most cursory sweep of the history of design chez Cartier reveals daring panthers beloved of the conflictive Duchess of Windsor in the 1940’s, the frighteningly realistic crocodiles in María Félix’s 1975 necklace and audacious starkness of the Just une Clou bracelet. 

Emerald and rock crystal necklace from Cartier
The central emerald set in rock crystal can be detached and worn as a brooch in this boldly contemporary necklace with echoes of Cartier’s designs from the early 20thcentury. 

More recently, the 2018 Coloratura high jewellery collection was a pyrotechnical explosion of colour and light using precious gems very rarely seen together. In short, Cartier is a leader, never one to tag along behind a trend.

The Equinoxe necklace offers a shimmer cosmic spectacle at the heart of which a 15.48-carat yellow sapphire is surrounded by a nebula of lacework diamonds and sapphires and lapis lazuli planets.

Following on from Coloratura, Cartier’s 2019 Magnitude high jewellery collection enters with a seismic footstep. Magnitude is a collision of highly precious ‘old school’ gem stones like diamonds and emeralds with ornamental hard stones such as lapis lazuli, rock crystal and matrix opal.  The very name ‘ornamental hard stones’ suggests an inferior geological ranking, a mere foil or backdrop in the service of the majestic and vastly superior crystalline minerals. But in this mysterious new world, beauty is found in the least expected marriages of minerals. It is described by its creators as a bringing together ‘with bold, creative panache materials that were never meant to meet.’ Case in point: the Aphélie necklace (below) with a glowing orb of rutilated quartz radiating rays of pink diamonds, coral, onyx and morganite.

Cartier has excelled in creating high jewellery that is distinctive and original as well as easy to wear as demonstrated by the Aphélie rutilated quartz necklace. 

Magnitude is a daring move, but Cartier’s mastery of the geometry, balance and colour control of Art Deco rigour tames opposing forces into a tour de force of contemporary jewellery design. Flashes of iridescent opal force their way through an earthy matrix reminiscent of the roiling, churning heart of our planet.  The Yuma ring (below)  turns on its head our perception of yellow diamonds as sheets of yellow mineral appear to be forced open by an almost volcanic strength of bubbling yellow briolette diamonds. The Équinoxe necklace offers a shimmer cosmic spectacle at the heart of which a 15.48-carat yellow sapphire is surrounded by a nebula of lacework diamonds and sapphires ringed by planet-like lapis lazuli beads. Hot orange garnet briolettes emanate a subterranean heat that cools into crystals of sapphires and diamonds cradled around purple sapphires in the Cartier Magnitude Zemia earrings. The ghostly pale light from milky yellow diamonds and the golden strands inside a rutilated quartz offer a glimpse into a future where strange encounters are the new normal.



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