When the designer Jeanne Toussaint, known for both her lithe, turbaned elegance and her lasting friendship with Coco Chanel, was named by Louis Cartier as head of jewellery design at his family-run company in 1933, her restrained yet vibrant pieces came to define a new era of Art Deco abstraction. While later she became known for her realistic depictions of flowers and animals, especially the house’s now iconic panther (her nickname was La Panthère), in the early years, she explored geometric form and unusual gems. Among them was the rare pinkish-orange imperial topaz, mined in the 19th century in western Russia’s Ural Mountains, when only the czar’s family were allowed to wear the stones. This new necklace features three exquisite imperial topazes from Brazil, including a dangling 11-carat pear-cut bicolour stone with an ombré effect that shifts from fuchsia to Tuscan yellow. Set off by diamonds, coloured sapphires and rutilated quartz prized for its slash-like inclusions, it evokes Toussaint’s combustible combination of classical discipline and modern exuberance.
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