Thomaï Serdari on Fine Arts & Luxury
Rotende de Cartier
Rotende de Cartier. Courtesy of Cartier.

Rotende de Cartier. Courtesy of Cartier.

Granulation, an advanced technique of working with gold, involves the careful manufacture, sorting and soldering of a dizzying number of miniscule grains of gold on to an object’s surface. (Oxford Dictionary of Art) Most people associate granulation with Etruscan jewelry even though the technique is known to have been applied by Mesopotamians and Greeks as well. The foremost master of granulation today is artist Daniel Brush (See: Daniel Brush, Blue Steel Light Gold) whose works epitomize perfection on all levels: artistic intent, technique and application.

The House of Cartier launched a new watch model in early January (of 2013) in which the face is decorated with applied granules of gold of varying sizes. The overall composition represents a panther, signature emblem of the House of Cartier. (Watch an instructive video on the genesis of the design granule by granule here.)

In antiquity, granulation was used to create forms with beads shaped like animals, such as a deer or crouching lion. It seems therefore that Cartier is highlighting the house’s tie to a universal know-how and its vow to preserve tradition and craftsmanship. Of course, as admirable as this may be it will never be as awe-inspiring as Brush’s granulated domes, themselves exemplifying a commitment to the same principles but most importantly to innovation. A true work of art is about innovation, and therefore, more about the future rather than the past.

© Thomaï Serdari