Jewels and Clocks

Looking for art experiences in the San Francisco Arts Monthly, I spotted “Cartier and America” at the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park. While Paul was off having lunch with his son, Jesse, and two attorneys, I treated myself to this exhibit.

All I can say is, “Wow!” I am glad I did.

The SFA Monthly claims the exhibit

covers the history of the House of Cartier from its first great successes
as the “king of jewelers and jeweler to kings during the Belle Epoque

through to the 1960s and 1970s, when Cartier supplied celebrities of the days with jewels and luxury accessories.

I came away with wonderment at the visual images of Cartier’s mystery clocks–the hands of which seem to float in the air with no signs of the working mechanism.

The diamond tiaras made me see how such a spectacular adornment could render a mere pretty woman with means into the stature of beautiful queen. These jewels draw the viewer’s eyes to the top of the head where they bedazzle the hair with the glory of flashing light and glimmer of color. Just looking at them from the outside of a glass box made me immediately enter the Belle Epoque as an onlooker exclaiming, “Oh my, oh my!” squeezing my eyes shut, only to pop them open as me now and say, “God, how lovely they are!”

And, I guess I just have to mention Grace Kelly’s 10 carat emerald cut diamond engagement ring from Prince Rainer III, accompanied by a film clip of her wearing it in “High Society.” I, like the women to either side of me at the exhibit, stared at it. I don’t know what they were thinking but I was thinking…it’s so large for a diamond ring, but that cut is such an exquisite form: so simple, so over-the-top gorgeous, so perfect for such a beauty as the young, classy Grace Kelly; a fairy tale jewel for the princess of a fairy tale. I couldn’t help it. I was swept away.