Gloria Swanson in Cartier

Gloria Swanson in Cartier Bracelets

Gloria May Swanson visited the House of Cartier in Paris in 1932.  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 a different size and number 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.

An extravagant and talented actress, Gloria Swanson became one of the highest paid actresses in the late 1920’s to the early 1930’s.  Charlie Chaplin and Cecil B. DeMille were not only her directors but were also her close friends.  She danced the tango with Rudolph Valentino and was the mistress of Joseph Kennedy, Sr.

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!

Janet Deleuse

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