Description & Technical information

Millegrain set throughout with round and cushion cut diamonds, the corsage of Art Nouveau style, formed by a cartouche of diamond line organic scrolls with foliate embellishments, hung below and across with five articulated swags of graduated forget-me-not flowerheads and leaves, the upper two swags lying across the cartouche each centred by a bouton pearl and hung to the middle with a larger bouton pearl in diamond petal cluster, the three swags below centred by a pendant of graduated round brilliant cut diamond collets, the largest principal diamond to the bottom, the Cupid's bow top also with feature diamond collet to centre and terminals, from which extend the graduated diamond collet necklace, each millegrain collet spaced by an oblong bar link, the necklace divided at either side by a navette shaped ribbon garland cluster formed of a laurel leaf frame with bow above and below, mounted in platinum, detachable back section for wear as a shorter necklace, the section then converting for wear as pair of bracelets or short collar necklace. (Unsigned.)

Shorter Length of necklace 42cm / 16�''

Longer Length of Necklace

Length of corsage pendant section to front 13.5cm / 5 3/8''
Weight: 138g

Date:  1902
Period:  20th century
Medium: Cushion cut diamonds, bouton pearl
Dimensions: 42 cm (16¹/₂ inches)
Provenance: This piece, from the private collection of an English noble family, was manufactured by Cartier 1902 for the great soprano Dame Nellie Melba. It is unsigned, but has been authenticated by Cartier as one of the very first jewels to appear in their photographic archives. 

Melba was an Australian operatic soprano. She became one of the most famous singers of the late Victorian era and the early 20th century, and was the first Australian to achieve international recognition as a classical musician. She took the pseudonym "Melba" from Melbourne, her home town.

The purchase is recorded in the chronology of sales of Hans Nadelhoffer�s 'Cartier. Jewelers Extraordinary'.

The survival of a belle epoque jewel of this significance and value, with its design unchanged and in such excellent condition, is rare. Its importance is compounded both by provenance and the scarcity of notable Cartier pieces from this formative era.

Literature: Photograph of the necklace and details of Nellie Melba in the book 'Cartier - The Exhibition'.

Categories: Jewellery