U.S.A.! Car-ti-er!

No matter how penniless you are, no matter how lifeless and dull your own accessories have become, and, to quote Diana Ross and the Supremes, “No Matter What Sign You Are,” gazing upon beautifully crafted, deeply expensive things has a way of slapping the spirits back into shape. "Cartier and America," an exhibition marking a century of the French jeweler and watchmaker in the United States, features gorgeous gewgaws from the Gilded Age to the 1970s, when the House of Cartier served as bedazzler to the stars. Flaunting more than 200 objects — beguiling little mystery clocks, stylized Art Deco ice, a variety of jewelry from white diamond suites to more colorful works — this priceless pageant of precious stones focuses on pieces owned by Americans. Included: the famous “Tutti Frutti” necklace, a Mughal Empire–inspired fruit salad of emeralds, sapphires, diamonds, and rubies commissioned by Daisy Fellowes in the late '20s; the kicky flamingo brooch made for the Duchess of Windsor in 1940; and a pair of rock crystal and diamond bracelets worn by Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard (“I am big. It’s the pictures that got small.”). There’s even a lavish emerald brooch made for a cereal heiress.
Dec. 19-April 18, 2009

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