A panther woman by Cartier

In 1914, Cartier created its first panther-spot motif on a wristwatch. Inspired by nature,
its black and white abstract onyx and diamond paving inaugurated the use of flecking in
jewellery and pioneered the contrasts of the future Art Déco style. That same year, Louis
Cartier ordered a “Lady with panther” from French illustrator and painter George Barbier.
The watercolour, initially used as an exhibition invitation, was then used by the Maison for
its advertising.

A panther woman was taking shape... but who was she? A predator, an Amazon, a mystery,
a fantasy, a muse, half-woman-half-feline?
What we do know is that she stood out, claimed her independence and freedom, and
marked her existence with a wild and beautiful femininity as only she could.
For Cartier, the first panther woman was Jeanne Toussaint, Louis Cartier’s close
collaborator and muse. She was original, creative and demanding.
She was an inventive source of inspiration who approached the feline step by step,
revealing its jewelled coat through an impression of spotted motifs before giving it
body and life. Cartier’s high jewellery creative director in 1933, in the eyes of her
major clients she enveloped herself in an indisputable aura of elegance by dictating
the famous “Toussaint style”.

Jeanne Toussaint set the tone and others followed. A star-spangled dynasty was inaugurated
by the Duchess of Windsor, for whom Cartier designed an onyx-spotted diamond panther
on a 116.74-carat emerald cabochon in 1948.
Barbara Hutton, Princess Nina Aga Khan, Daisy Fellowes and María Félix, nicknamed
the Mexican panther, would continue the legend. These femmes fatales, feline women and
major Cartier clients were constantly in the spotlight and their jewellery reflected their
dazzling presence.

The magic of the Cartier panther was sparked by this magnetic seduction, which Cartier
crystallised in sensual form.
And almost a century on, it continues to surprise! Present in the most unexpected places,
it is revolutionary, strongly representing a style that defies boundaries. At the crossroads of
influences at once baroque and anatomical, minimalist and structuralist, comes a panther of
its time, more incisive than ever, whose forms evolve through new savoir-faire, unexplored
attitudes and unprecedented materials.

Because it makes its mark, its appearances instantly distinguish a style. The 2014 Cartier
panther is once more distinguished by its phenomenal and modern presence. Even on its
own, its charm is arresting.
Figurative, graphic, playful, gentle, wild, sensual, ferocious or kinetic, it offers a range of
surprises, loyal to its audacious and sophisticated jewellery aura.
Fifty-six pieces. A collection which the heroine reigns over with absolute feline essence.
Magnificent as a “vanity” ring, like an x-ray of itself in a gold skeleton.
Devastating when it gives an elegant and slender shock from one finger to another.
Op Art in its absolutely cellular version... A jewellery pattern of diamonds and onyx
spots without body or head on a tribal bracelet.
Jewels made with tremendous know-how that take their creative vitality from the energy
of Cartier’s totemic wild cat.

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