Vintage Panthere De Cartier Jewellery: Buying this iconic motif
While Cartier jewellery is known the world over, whether for their Love Bracelets to Trinity collection, perhaps there is no motif more iconic in the jewellery industry than the panther used across Panthere De Cartier collections.
So, what does the panther mean, and what are the best pieces of jewellery that showcase this much-celebrated design?
How Panthere De Cartier Was Born
There are multiple stories about how the panther motif became an icon for Cartier. However, we do know that the panther would not be part of the Cartier brand if it were not for Jeanne Toussaint. Known for being fiery and fierce, friends with Coco Chanel and rubbing shoulders with influential names in Paris, she began a passionate relationship with Louis Carter.
Jeanne Toussaint was famous for wearing a full-length panther coat around the city of Paris and having an apartment adorned with panther skins and paintings; her character and style meant she quickly acquired the nickname ‘La Panthere’ by Louis Cartier.
With Jeanne Toussaint’s presence around Cartier, panthers soon began to appear in designs. The first design was a greeting card, commissioned by Cartier and designed by George Barbier, which featured the image of an elegant woman with a black panther lying at her feet.
Then, in 1914, the first panther was added to a Cartier wristwatch, including embellishment with diamond and ebony.
In their whirlwind romance, Louis Cartier took Jeanne Toussaint, his ‘la panthere’, on a safari specifically to see a panther in the wild.
From then, with Jeanne Toussaint as an artistic director of Cartier, panthers soon began finding their way into Cartier designs. By 1927, technically talented designer Peter Lemarchand joined Jeanne Toussaint to help her achieve her vision of creating three-dimensional panthers in jewellery designs.
After the war, Jeanne Toussaint made big cat designs her passion project. She regularly sent artists and designers to the zoo to sketch the big cats there so she could transform designs into 3D jewellery.
In 1948, this ambition was achieved. The Duke of Windsor commissioned a piece for his wife using a 116.74-carat emerald from his own jewellery collection. From this, Cartier designed a panther crafted from gold and onyx to perch on top of the emerald stone.
Delighted with this design, the Duchess of Windsor commissioned another design in 1949. This time, it was a brooch incorporating a diamond panther, complete with a sapphire. In 1987, this brooch sold for over $1 million.
With commissions for notable celebrities at the time, the panther quickly became synonymous with Cartier. While other jewellery houses adopted big cats into their design, they were seen as a lesser copy of Cartier’s work.
While early panther designs were commissioned and extravagantly made using sapphires, emeralds as well as yellow and white diamonds. You could see Cartier panthers gracing handbag clasps, perfume bottles, cigarette cases, brooches, and bracelets.
Panthere De Cartier Jewellery Collections
Panthere De Cartier Bracelet
The classic Cartier Panthere bracelet is designed as a bangle with a walking panther or panther head at one end of the bangle. Commonly you can find this bracelet in yellow gold, but you can also find vintage rose gold Panthere de Cartier bracelets.
As well as the panther styling, there are options for a paved bracelet or a non-paved bangle, the paved version is typically with brilliant-cut diamonds, but for a more classic panther styling, the gold band may be patterned with onyx. The panther’s head is more angular and geometric in modern designs. However, you can find vintage and preloved versions of the Panthere De Cartier bracelet throughout the ages.
What is common throughout most of the Panthere de Cartier bracelets is that the head of the panther features gemstones for eyes, such as tsavorite garnets or emeralds.
Cartier Panthere Watches
The Panthere watch was first created in the 1980s and was inspired by the movements of Cartier’s iconic emblem. Like a panther, the watch is designed to be stealth-like, sleek and flexible. The watch has a chained link bracelet, designed for comfortable everyday wear, and has a square watch face, with softer curved corners that make the watch more comfortable with a feminine edge.
The Panthere De Cartier watch is very much a statement watch, seen on the wrists of the most influential public figures in the last fifty years, and is seen as a true jewellery watch.
While there are variations of the Panthere watch, you can expect all of the watches to come with Cartier’s classic blue sword-shaped hands, exposed screw and sapphire crystal case.
Available in yellow, rose and white gold, as well as a steel mix on the bracelet. For extra sparkle, look for Panthere De Cartier watches set with diamonds.
Panthere Cartier Pendant Necklace
Another icon in the Panthere De Cartier collection is the pendant necklace. This is ideal for those looking for a vintage piece which is still incredibly contemporary. The panther pendant features a geometric, openwork precious metal panther head, complete with gemstone eyes. The openwork of the structure adds to its modern approach yet is subtle enough to complement a range of outfits.
While the openwork panther is perhaps the most iconic, there are options for a solid panther head, sometimes complete with onyx markings and tsavorite garnets for the eyes.
At Susannah Lovis, we stock a range of vintage Panthere de Cartier necklaces in yellow and white gold with variations in style depending on the date and model of the necklace.
Find your perfect Panthere De Cartier vintage piece today with Susannah Lovis, speak to our team to talk through your requirements or browse online.