The Cartier panther is one of the most iconic symbols of the French luxury jewelry brand, Cartier. The panther motif first appeared in Cartier’s designs in 1914, but it wasn’t until the 1930s that the panther became a central design element in Cartier’s jewelry line.
It was in 1935 that Jeanne Toussaint, who was then the director of Cartier’s fine jewelry department, was nicknamed “La Panthère” by Louis Cartier himself. Toussaint was known for her fierce personality and style, and the nickname inspired her to create a series of Cartier panther jewelry pieces that would become iconic.
The first Cartier panther piece was a bracelet that featured a panther in yellow gold sitting atop an emerald cabochon. This piece was created for Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor, and it quickly became one of her favorite pieces of jewelry. In fact, Simpson was so taken with the Cartier panther that she commissioned a whole set of Cartier panther jewelry pieces, including an exquisite diamond and onyx panther brooch.
The Cartier panther soon became a symbol of luxury and elegance, and it was featured in a variety of designs, including rings, brooches, earrings, and watches. In the 1970s, the panther was made into a watch for the first time, and it quickly became a bestseller for Cartier.
Over the years, the Cartier panther has been reinterpreted by many different designers, including Jeanne Toussaint, Peter Lemarchand, and Elie Top. Each designer has put their own unique spin on the panther motif, creating pieces that are both timeless and contemporary.
One of the most notable Cartier panther pieces is the Royal Panther, which was created in 2010. This piece features a panther in white gold covered in 900 diamonds, and it took more than 2,000 hours to create.
Today, the Cartier panther remains one of the most recognizable motifs in luxury jewelry. From its humble beginnings in the 1930s to its status as an icon of luxury and style, the Cartier panther has cemented its place in fashion history.