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, they called her 'The Panther' as she was known for her fearless, whimsical sense of style, for her wit, and for her vivid imagination. She was the inspiration behind the very first Panthere collection, and it was she who went on to perfect and popularize it’s design over the years, creating among other notable jewels the spectacular brooches worn by the Duchess of Windsor.
In 1955, Jeanne Toussaint was awarded the Grand-Croix de la Legion D’Honneur for her contributions to the world of jewelry design, and to this day the house of Cartier continues to draw inspiration from the panther, the spirit of which she so embodied.
Today, over a hundred years after its first appearance, in 1914 for a wristwatch, 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 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. It so perfectly suits the fierce, confident Cartier woman, much like Toussaint was herself.
The First Panthere, created by Louis Cartier in 1914.
A selection of The Duchess of Windsor's Panther Jewels.
The 2014 Open-Work "Panthere de Cartier" Ring.
Book by Assouline.