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Saturday, June 7, 2014

Cartier Jewelry Collection Owned by Marjorie Merriweather Post Cartier Jewelry Collection Opens to the Public

Marjorie Merriweather Post sat alongside her daughter Nedenia Hutton wearing a Cartier emerald and diamond pendant brooch. Photo credit: Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens.

Marjorie Merriweather Post (1887 – 1973) was considered to be the wealthiest woman in the world and with her fortune she amassed one of the most important private collections of Cartier jewelry. For the first time the entire collection is now on display at Post’s former Washington, D.C., estate, Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens. The exhibition will run till December 31.

Post, the heiress of the Postum Cereal Company, collected Cartier items from the 1920s to the 1960s, arguably a time when the luxury jeweler was creating its most important pieces. The exhibition includes some of Cartier’s most important pieces, the majority of which are big and bold with fine craftsmanship and variety. Art Deco themes are well represented but some pieces have far more exotic inspirations. The exhibition includes portraits of Mrs. Post wearing some of the jewelry. 

Photo Credit: Smithsonian Institution. Photography by Chip Clark
Two of the pieces are on loan from the Smithsonian Institution. The 21.04-carat Maximilian emerald, a Colombian emerald once set in a ring worn by Mexico's emperor, Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph (pictured above). 

Photo Credit: Smithsonian Institution. Photography by Chip Clark

The other piece on loan from the famed museum is perhaps the top item on display, an Art Deco Indian-style diamond, platinum and enamel necklace and shoulder brooch made in 1928-1929 that features 24 baroque-cut Colombian emerald drops, each surmounted by a smaller emerald bead (pictured above). At least one of the emeralds dates back to the 17th century Mughal Empire.

Photo credit: Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens.

In addition, several of pieces were included in the exhibition, Cartier Le Style et l’Histoire, at the Grand Palais, Paris, earlier this year. Items from the Post collection have been shown intermittently at the Hillwood Estate at different times. This is the first time the entire collection has been given its own dedicated exhibition. 

Other items of note include:

Photo credit: Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens.

* A diamond and sapphire necklace (1936/37) with its precise geometric form (pictured above) is a fine example of the Art Deco pieces that Cartier is known for. 

Photo credit: Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens.

* A three-strand necklace with Caro Yamaoka natural pearls (1963) is centered with a large, carved platinum and diamond clasp (1936), again in a fringe design (pictured above). 

Photo credit: Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens.

* A necklace and earrings set made with 18 faceted amethysts of varying sizes and shapes, with carved turquoise and diamonds set in gold and platinum. 

In addition to the jewelry, there are objet d'art pieces. Among the standouts are a carved jade tobacco box decorated with gold, enamel and sapphires; a silver monogrammed box with jade and coral highlights; and a silver, enamel and glass dressing table set.

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