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The Panthere de Cartier

Jeanne Toussaint is as iconic as the 'Panthere de Cartier' emblem itself. Muse of Louis Cartier and Artistic Director of Haute Joaillerie for the Maison from 1933-1970, Cartier called her 'The Panther" recognizing her fearless, whimsical sense of style, her wit, and her vivid imagination. Initially hired in 1913 as Director for bags, accessories and objects, Jeanne was the inspiration behind the very first Panthere pieces. In the years that would follow, she would go on to perfect and popularize its design in a range of different styles, creating among many notable pieces the spectacular brooches worn by the Duchess of Windsor.

Today, over a hundred years after its first appearance (in 1914 for a wristwatch, shown below), the Panthere remains among Cartier's most sought-after motifs as well as the enduring symbol of the Maison, inspiring countless modern interpretations of house signatures. A recent favorite of mine, which so suits the fierce, confident Cartier client, is the striking 2014 open-work “Panthere de Cartier" ring, a bold three-dimensional piece finished with 2 tsavorite eyes and a black onyx nose.

In 1955, Jeanne Toussaint was awarded the Grand-Croix de la Legion D’Honneur for her contributions to the world of jewelry design. She died in 1976, but her influence remains. To this day the Maison continues to draw inspiration from the woman who herself so fully embodied the Cartier spirit.

The First Panthere, created by Louis Cartier in 1914.

Jeanne Toussaint.

A selection of The Duchess of Windsor's Panther Jewels.

The 2014 Open-Work "Panthere de Cartier" Ring.

Book by Assouline.

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