Jewelry Blog

Understanding Cartier Art Deco Jewelry

Cartier Art Deco Jewelry Cufflinks in Red Cartier Box

The Art Deco period brought with it a complete shift from the perfect and elegant to the bold and colorful. This eye-catching style quickly became popular all over Europe and the United States in the 1920s and 1930s, influencing art, architecture, fashion brands, cars, and jewelry. Cartier Art Deco jewelry, to date, is among the most desirable in the world.

In this guide, we will take you through the history of Cartier Art Deco jewelry, paying special attention to some of the most noteworthy pieces that marked this period. In addition, we will go through how to recognize genuine Cartier jewelry from this era and where you can find it. 

History of Cartier During the Art Deco Era

Art Deco Jewelry

Art Deco Era Party with Jewelry and Music

Art Deco jewelry is a response to the flawless perfection of the Edwardian era and the Art Nouveau period. The jewelry portrays sophisticated glamor, symmetrical patterns, geometrical shapes, and bold color combinations. What’s more, Art Deco jewelry symbolized everything the Roaring Twenties represented.

Women of the ‘20s weren’t shy about covering themselves with sparkly accessories and statement pieces. Being seen with cocktail rings, multi-colored bracelets, upper-arm bracelets, jeweled wristwatches and pocket watches, pins, and many other accessories was nothing out of the ordinary. Other luxury items that symbolize this period include cigarette cases and cigarette holders, double-clip brooches, pendants, and jeweled-encrusted powder boxes. Every small item used by women throughout the era was covered with diamonds and colorful gems.

Cartier during the Art Deco Era

Cartier Art Deco Jewelry Store 1930s

Many French jewelry designers marked this period, but one that stood out and influenced all the rest was the House of Cartier. Founded by Louis Cartier in Paris in 1847, the House of Cartier has been designing and creating jewelry for nobles, celebrities, and wealthy and renowned names for a long time. During the Art Deco period, Cartier stood behind some of the most iconic designs of this era. 

It all started with the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts, an art exhibition held in Paris in 1925. Cartier seized this opportunity to showcase Art Deco jewelry, which immediately caught everyone’s attention. Even though Art Deco jewelry was mass-produced all over Europe and the United States, the most high-quality, iconic jewelry was designed in France. 

Interestingly enough, Art Deco jewelry was believed to be inspired by Far East and Oriental motifs. What also influenced this period was the opening of King Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922, which was followed by a craze for Egyptian style that greatly influenced jewelry designers. You can see traces of Oriental (Japanese and Chinese) and Asian tendencies in many Cartier Art Deco pieces as well. 

On the other hand, many believed that the first Art Deco inspirations originated from Sergei Diaghilev’s Russian Ballet to Paris. The abundant use of color schemes and decorative arts also inspired new movements, such as cubism, futurism, and expressionism. 

Art Deco Motifs and Styles

Art Deco Cartier Clips
Very rare pair of Art Deco Cartier Clips from our private collection. Contact us for more information.

There are diverse motifs that characterize Cartier Art Deco jewelry. Some of the features of this style include abstract designs, geometrical shapes, color schemes, and bold combinations. 

While diamonds were as valuable as ever, colorful gemstones took the spotlight during this period. Some of the most popular gems of this time included rubies, sapphires, emeralds, lapis lazuli, corals, turquoises, and jades. As opposed to the Edwardian era, which celebrated clean, light combinations of diamonds and silver, Art Deco jewelry accentuated interesting combinations of gems and materials such as enamel, horn, glass, and ivory. 

Even though it was all about color, black-and-white combinations were equally sought after. In fact, diamonds were often combined with black onyx or dark enamel. Due to its flexibility, platinum was the metal of choice of the time, while silver and white gold were out of fashion then. 

If you are looking for a Cartier Art Deco piece, then there are a couple of things you should be aware of. Firstly, there is a notable difference between Cartier Art Deco jewelry and Cartier Art Deco-inspired jewelry. Genuine Cartier pieces from the Art Deco era were made in the ‘20s and ’30s. Any type of jewelry designed after that period falls into the Art Deco-style category. However, it’s incredibly easy to confuse the two. 

How to Know if It’s Genuine Art Deco Cartier? 

Art Deco Cartier Clips Emerald and Ruby Diamonds in Box

One way you can figure out if the Cartier Art Deco piece you are interested in is genuine is by identifying features distinctive of this period. For example, if the piece of jewelry has hinges, clasps, and catches, then it might be a real Cartier Art Deco piece. 

The type of gem and its cut can also be a sign of Art Deco style. If the jewelry in question is a ring, then look for emerald and round brilliant cuts, as they marked ring designs of the Art Deco era. If the piece has a round or curvy shape, then it probably belongs to another period. 

Color can also be a clear indicator, as Art Deco jewelry has brighter colors than pieces from other periods. If the piece is made from silver or white gold, then it could be a sign that it isn’t a genuine Cartier Art Deco. Art Deco pieces were also much heavier than jewelry from other periods. You can also make sure if the gems were glued on or fashioned in a mold. 

Estate Diamond Jewelry’s Art Deco private collection includes genuine Art Deco pieces. Since it contains some rare, valuable pieces, the collection is not up for display on our website. If you are interested, you can always consult with EDJ’s Art Deco experts, Michael and Afshin. You can schedule an appointment to view the rare private collection. 

Cartier Art Deco Earrings 

Cartier Art Deco Earrings made with diamonds and platinum
A pair of Cartier Art Deco Earrings from our collection. Contact us for more information.

One of the most distinctive signs of the Jazz Age was the short bob haircut that almost every woman wore. It was about that time that earrings became a statement piece, seeing as they could accentuate a woman’s short hairstyle and jawline. 

Cartier earrings from the Art Deco era were usually long, dangly, and thin. Since pearls were very popular at the time, earrings were usually made from strings of pearls or small diamonds. Geometrical shapes were applied to earrings as well, along with large colored gemstones. Since brooches were also quite trendy at this time, women preferred earrings that they could also wear as brooches. 

In the second half of the Art Deco period, during the 1930s, clip-on earrings became popular as well. Egyptian, African, and Indian motifs were among the common characteristics that could be featured on all types of jewelry. Nature elements were also added, like shell, leaf, or flower-shaped earrings could be seen around this period as well. 

Cartier Art Deco Bracelets 

Cartier Art Deco Bracelet circa 1920
A very rare Cartier Art Deco Bracelet from our collection. Contact us for more information.

Art Deco bracelets were designed in a similar fashion as other kinds of Cartier Art Deco jewelry. They were usually made from platinum with plenty of diamonds, sapphires, rubies, emeralds, and other colored gemstones. 

It wasn’t uncommon to wear a couple of bracelets around both wrists in this era of bold fashion. It was around this time that upper-arm bracelets, also known as bangle bracelets, became a trend too, ideal for sleeveless dresses that were worn at that time. What’s more, women of the ‘20s used to combine wristwatches with colorful bracelets. 

Cartier Art Deco Necklaces

Rare Cartier Necklace Curated by Estate Diamond Jewelry

If you’ve ever seen The Great Gatsby, then you already know how much fashion of the ‘20s celebrated pearls. While they were used for earrings and bracelets, nothing screamed the Roaring Twenties fashion like feathers and pearl necklaces. 

Cartier necklaces from the Art Deco era usually included very long necklaces that could be wrapped around the neck at least three or four times. Apart from beads and pearls, they also featured large gemstones, like rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. Diamonds were also incorporated for the most high-quality, expensive Art Deco necklaces, and they were usually combined with gemstones of various shapes and colors. 

Pendants were also commonly worn around long pearl necklaces, usually with geometrical or Oriental motifs. 

Cartier Art Deco Rings

Art Deco Cartier Diamond Engagement Ring
Cartier Diamond Engagement Ring from our collection. Contact us for more information.

As mentioned before, Cartier Art Deco rings have distinctive features that are easy to recognize. The most common characteristics of these types of rings include geometrical shapes and bold color combinations. 

Rubies, sapphires, and emeralds are the most popular options when it comes to stone preference. It’s possible to find rings that have two or three combined colors. Lapis lazuli, coral, turquoise, and jade are also very popular elements of Cartier Art Deco jewelry. 

When it comes to cuts, Cartier Art Deco style rings include baguette, marquise, shield, emerald, pear, and triangle cuts. As for ring materials, you will usually find rings made from platinum. A typical Cartier Art Deco ring usually consists of a diamond centerpiece and colored gems that go around it. 

View our collection of Cartier Rings.

Cartier Art Deco Watches 

Cartier-Diamond Watch-Artistic
Cartier Watch from our collection. Contact us for more information.

What better way to employ different geometrical shapes than with wristwatches? Cartier has some of the most classic, elegant Art Deco watch collections in the world. The two most famous Cartier watch designs that originate from the Art Deco era are the Tank and Santos designs. 

Cartier was responsible for creating the first modern wristwatch in 1904. Alberto Santos Dumont, who was a Brazilian aviator, asked Cartier to design him a watch that would tell him the time while he was in the air. Upon his request, the Santos wristwatch collection stems from the Art Deco period. It became one of Cartier’s most popular and successful watch collections. 

The Tank collection followed in 1918, characterized by rectangular watches, which became the most popular watch shape in the 1920s. Tank watches are still in production and are still widely worn even to this day. 

Famous Cartier Art Deco Jewelry 

There is an astounding number of Cartier Art Deco jewelry pieces that have earned fame in one way or another. Here are a couple of famous pieces that made their way into the history of jewelry design: 

The Tutti Frutti Bracelet

Frank's Files At Home: Tutti Frutti and the House of Cartier

Cartier designed this bracelet in 1928 as part of the Tutti Frutti collection. It was sold for $2.1 million at Sotheby’s in 2014, which also broke the world record for the most expensive jewel sold at an auction. 

Grace Kelly’s Engagement Ring

This famous emerald-cut engagement ring has 10.48 carats, and it was given to the famous actress Grace Kelly by Prince Rainier III of Monaco. 

Cartier’s Patiala Necklace

The $50 Million Cartier Necklace Fit for Royalty

This necklace consists of 2,930 diamonds attached to five chains. The centerpiece diamond, also known as the “De Beers,” was considered the seventh-largest diamond in the world during that period. The diamond necklace was designed in 1928 for Bhupinder Singh of Patiala. 

Marjorie Merriweather Post’s Art Deco Necklace

Hillwood Presents Spectacular Gems and Jewelry from the Merriweather Post Collection

Cartier designed this sapphire necklace specifically for Marjorie Merriweather Post, an American socialite and businesswoman. The necklace consists of two diamond bracelets and one sapphire brooch. 

Shop Cartier Art Deco Jewelry at Estate Diamond Jewelry

Cartier Art Deco Jewelry Cufflinks in Red Cartier Box

If you have decided on Cartier Art Deco jewelry, the next step is to check out our private collection. You can request information about our private collection here, as well as book an appointment to view the collection in our store. 

If you’re still unsure what to get, our Art Deco experts, Michael and Afshin, can help you pick out a genuine Cartier Art Deco piece to take home with you. 

Contact Us and View our Collection

Estate Diamond Jewelry Showroom with Afshin and Customer

Art Deco marks one of the most memorable and trend-setting periods of jewelry design. It was also the time that the House of Cartier made a name for itself by introducing several Art Deco trends that people still follow to this day. Cartier Art Deco jewelry is like no other, and that’s exactly why it’s so adored. 

If you want to see our rare private collection of Art Deco Cartier Jewelry, then you have come to the right place. All you need to do is tell us what you’re looking for, and we’ll show you the pieces in our collection.


About Afshin Shaddaie

Afshin moved to New York City in the 1980s, and a few years later, he began his career in the fine and rare jewelry scene. He teamed up with Michael Khordipour, and they've been curating vintage jewelry ever since. He also regularly contributes to Forbes, Rapaport, CNBC, The Knot, and Insider. Afshin constantly travels to international shows and private viewing events in the hope of finding rare vintage rings that will be important enough to make an impression. He is available for appointments at our New York showroom when he's not traveling. In 2019, Afshin authored his book called The Engagement Ring Guide for Men. He is considered one of the world's foremost authorities on vintage jewelry and antique diamonds. His favorite jewelry era is Art Nouveau, and he loves rare Italian jewelry from the 1950s - 1970s. The Natural Saltwater Pearl is his favorite precious jewel.