Flowerbeds fill the room, with orchids poking their heads out toward the visitors. An exotic bird hoots from somewhere in the undergrowth, sweet smells waft by, and protruding from the patches of white flowers are glass pods, presenting their precious seeds: the finest of jewellery. This is how Cartier and artist Christophe Ponceau presents their latest collection 'Naturellement', first at Art Dubai and now at their Mall of the Emirates boutique (until April 14th).
Art Week in Dubai not only saw the presentation of Cartier’s new collection, but also that of another traditional French house, Van Cleef & Arpels, who launched their 'Bals de Légende' range of exquisite jewels and timepieces at Design Days Dubai.
Cartier’s 'Naturellement' is a collection inspired by nature, with floral elements and a menagerie of exotic and familiar creatures. Take the panther – a darling of Cartier’s designers since 1914, now returned as a necklace of white gold and platinum covered in diamonds, clawing a yellow sapphire, his spots traditionally laid in black onyx. He can also be seen resting on a large yellow sapphire like a housecat about to play with the pearls in another necklace. The dazzling bestiary also includes cockatoos, tigers and dragons, as well floral designs on some smaller pieces. The panther, though, remains the heraldic animal of Cartier – and of course of this high-end collection, too. Panthers and other wild creatures are not for petting – unless of course you manage to tame their bejewelled cousins and make them your own.
'Bals de Légende' by Van Cleef & Arpels also celebrates the tradition of its house by presenting new interpretations of signature pieces like the 'Zip' necklace from 1950, or a necklace that can transform into two bracelets. The design of the new collection takes its inspiration from five legendary balls of the 20th century, each adding its own set of shapes, colours and elements to the decorative clips, rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets and watches of each set . 'Bal du Palais Hiver' pays homage to a fest in Russia’s winter palace with a generous amount of rubies and baroque shapes, and 'Bal du Siecle' is all-Venetian carnival with tiny masks cut from precious stones prominently featured in the pieces. 'Bal Black & White” takes on New York’s art deco style with edgy geometric shapes, while 'Bal Oriental' is as opulent as the name suggests, ornamentally and in the choice of turquoise, emeralds, pearls and sapphires. Finally, 'Bal Proust' is dedicated to the love of nature and some nostalgia, too, quoting Van Cleef & Arpels’ love for crafting feathers out of precious stones.
You might have missed all of these legendary balls, but that doesn't mean you can't take one of these unique pieces to another event and make it a memorable one, too.