'It was the Most Wonderful Diamond I Have Ever Seen' & Other Brilliant Quotes 

'It was the Most Wonderful Diamond I Have Ever Seen' & Other Brilliant Quotes 

Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century explores how Cartier became a leader in jewelry innovation and craftsmanship. The following are some insights on Cartier from family members, designers, and admirers to whet your appetite for the exhibition:

The Cartiers on Cartier

“When it was a question of jewelry or business: we were the Cartiers. Our father was unaware that we had secretly made the same oath: to become the greatest in our profession.” –Louis Cartier (1875-1942)

“The thick settings of gold, silver and heavy woven strands that had been known since time immemorial were like the armor of jewelry. The use of platinum, which became its embroidery, an innovation introduced by us, produced the reformation.”–Louis Cartier (1875-1942)

Royals, Celebrities & the Fashion-Forward on Cartier

“Jeweler of kings . . . and king of jewelers.” –Edward VII, King of Great Britain (r. 1901-1910), on Cartier

“Most original is the combination of carved coral, of the old-fashioned type, with large uncut emeralds, diamonds and onyx. This daring color combination is another Cartier invention, which is gradually growing in popularity. It, however, requires very careful handling, the combination being very dangerous.” –Harper’s Bazaar, on Cartier’s latest designs, March, 1926

“There’s great greed for gold—rich yellow-gold and hoards of it. No little gram-weight nuggets content this age . . . your jewel pieces will be huge and affluent.” –American Vogue, on Cartier’s latest designs, 1937

“A fool would know that with tweeds or other daytime clothes one wears gold, and that with evening clothes one wears platinum.” –Wallis Simpson (1896-1986), style maker, the Duchess of Windsor

“It was the most wonderful diamond I have ever seen. Most diamonds I think look just cold and icy but the thing about this one was the colors in it.” –Celeste Holm, Grace Kelly’s (1929-1982) co-star in High Society, on Kelly’s Cartier engagement ring

“Originally, I wore the diamond as a ring, but even for me it was too big, so we had Cartier design a necklace.” –Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011), on the 69.42 carat Taylor-Burton diamond

“I've never thought of my jewelry as trophies. I'm here to take care of it and to love it, for we are only temporary custodians of beauty." –Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011)

Image credit: Alfred Cartier (second from right) surrounded by his sons. From left to right: Pierre, Louis, and Jacques, 1922. Cartier Archives © Cartier.

Stefania Van Dyke is a senior interpretive specialist. Her favorite Monet factoid is that, in their youth, he and Renoir apparently spent an entire year surviving on potatoes.

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