Gloria May Swanson visited the House of Cartier in Paris in 1932 with the intention of purchasing a fabulous jewel. The famous Hollywood actress purchased two of the six newly designed deco style rock crystal bracelets. Fabricated in platinum, the bracelets have 25.35 carats of round and baguette cut diamonds that are set on half discs of rock crystals. Each bracelet is unique with different sizes and numbers of opaque rock crystals.
One bracelet has thirty rock crystal half-disks and the other bracelet is a bit larger with forty seven rock crystal half disks. The invisible coiled platinum springs enables the bracelets to expand and slip on over the wrist.
The sparkle from the diamonds adds to the opaque glow of the white rock crystals. The overall effect of the bracelets are like ice and snow with the reflection of bright sunshine. Gloria wore the bracelets on stage and off as her ‘signature’ look. She often wore the pair on the same wrist or one on each wrist.
In 1950 Gloria Swanson starred in the film Sunset Boulevard directed by Billy Wilder. The movie parallels the story of her life as an aging actress. Gloria chose to wear her own collection of Cartier jewelry in the film. Playing the character of Norma Desmond, the desperate recluse actress, she decides to go directly to the studio and confront the director. As she rides to Paramount Studios wrapped in furs in her chauffeured convertible Rolls Royce Gloria Swanson wears both bracelets over long black gloves smoking her cigarette with an air of importance. This contrast of the pristine white gems on black leather is just magnificent. Billy Wilder filmed this perfect moment in history depicting Gloria Swanson’s beauty and Cartier’s timeless creativity.
Her beauty, talent, flagrant style and wealth afforded her the luxurious lifestyle she craved and the jewelry from Cartier became part of her legend.
December 19, 2009 is the opening day for “Cartier and America” at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco Gloria Swanson’s Cartier deco bracelets will be on display for the 100 year celebration of Cartier in the United States. Happy Birthday Cartier!
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>> film Actress. I wanted to let you know that the car that Miss Swanson
>> used in Sunset Boulevard is really a handmade 1929 Italian
>> Isott-Fraschini Tipo 8A. The car in it’s day was far above Rolls
>> Royce and only the VERY rich could ever afford a car like that. The
>> car is now in Las Vegas at the Imperial Palace and if you should ever
>> get a chance to see it, the car is really a work of art. The interor
>> is real Lepord skin on the seats.
>> Kind regards, Eric Murken