A Unique Assemblage of Exceptional Stones
Paying homage to the great ceremonial necklaces of the Maharajahs, this piece showcases an exceptional assembly of emeralds, as well as sapphires and rubies, set in accordance with ancient Indian know-how and tradition.
The engraved emeralds brought together by Cartier are all the more singular, as the “cluster” form of the pendant is rare in High Jewellery – though Cartier already made use of it in the 1920s and 30s. This pendant comprises 19 gems. The ensemble is completed by two emeralds totalling 86.96 carats and a central stone of 43.73 carats. All three are sourced from Colombia, one of the world’s most renowned gem-mining regions.
Their impressive weight is accentuated by the colour, brilliant intensity and crystallisation of their combined forms.
They are joined by an 18.58-carat hexagonal engraved Zambian emerald, a 23.24-carat engraved Burmese ruby, eight Burmese rubies totalling 46.34 carats and two Burmese rubies totalling 13.26 carats.
A remarkable assemblage of emeralds, perfectly matched in terms of hue, intensity and crystallisation, this necklace offers a dynamic visual composition in which colour adds rhythm and tempo. A total of 4,566 hours of jewellery work, setting and polishing went into this piece.
The Link Between the Design — the Jewel
The transition from two-dimensional drawing to an actual object is the first feat of the Maharajah necklace. From idea to reality, this transformation ushers in a multitude of unknowns, from modifications to the stones and colours, to adjustments that enhance the piece’s ergonomics. Designers and jewellers work side by side to serve a common purpose: transforming the original idea into an exceptional jewellery piece.
The Link Between Front — Back
A High Jewellery creation is a dazzling marvel, a dream transformed into reality. It is also an ingenious construction, conceived down to the millimetre, with a complexity of design that is imperceptible. The 19 emeralds on the necklace’s pendant comprise a perfect ensemble of architectural proportions. To create this drop, each gem is set in a very fine metal band, a lace-like structure affixed to the back of the necklace. As each stone is unique, the development of this customised framework sparked intense collaboration in the workshop, combining equal parts of aesthetic and technique.
The Link Between Visible — Invisible
To guide one’s gaze to the pendant’s emerald drops – and not to the tiny points of metal, just visible from certain angles – the designer and workshop manager came up with a trick: tiny sapphire beads were added to finish each emerald drop. In this way, the sapphire draws the eye to the emerald, in a colour pairing dear to Cartier.
The Link Between Weight — Lightness
All around the central part, several rows of beads are arranged, becoming a transformable bib. Depending on the chosen wearing style (the necklace can be worn in eight different ways), the number of rows varies, and with it the distribution of the gems’ weight. For this to be comfortable for each wearing style, the threading was intensively studied – with ensuing multiple tweaks and adjustments.
The Link Between the Physical — the Mind
Over 4,500 hours of work in the jewellery, setting and polishing workshops were necessary to bring the Maharajah necklace to life. The design sketch is the starting point: it provides the direction and foresees the different steps in the workshop, which are associated timelines. Parallel to this working time comes the time spent throughout the development of the piece, which compels designers and jewellers to envision a multitude of answers to questions that arise as the physical piece takes shape.
The Modular Nature of the Maharajah Necklace
This creation perpetuates the great Cartier tradition of transformable jewellery, revealing eight main ways of wearing the necklace and two variations for the pendant earrings. Thus, the inner ruby part is transformed into a choker; tassels and clusters of emeralds surrounding the central motif can be removed, offering a shorter version of the adornment; the central cluster is worn as a pendant on a chain. As for the pendant earrings, they can additionally accommodate the two side emeralds.