Thomaï Serdari on Fine Arts & Luxury

Courtesy of Christie’s Geneva




Americans always had a preference for Cartier’s exquisite jewelry and fine decorative objects.  In the late nineteenth century, the American clientele followed the house of Cartier from the Boulevard des Italiens store to the one on rue de la Paix, where the Parisian jeweler moved in 1899. Since then, and while Cartier has been growing its business internationally, New Yorkers have been fortunate to boast their own New York version of the Parisian jewelry house on Fifth Avenue.

Vanity cases became particularly popular during the 1920s. A variety of styles can be found today at Cartier’s own museum-quality collection and on auctions. Fine examples include silver striped cases with gold and enamel decorations, or examples of boldly ornamented and playfully colorful Art Deco pieces with interior compartments for mirrors and lipstick holders.

The one featured here is a yellow-gold egg-shaped vanity case by Cartier (circa 1955) with a diamond-set “L” monogram. The push piece is set with nine baguette-cut diamonds, opening to reveal two compartments separated by a mirror and comb. The case, which is signed Cartier, is suspended from a fancy link chain. The price estimate ranged between $15,000 and $20,000. The case was sold at the November 17, 2010 Christie’s Geneva auction for $48,000.

© Thomaï Serdari