Jeanne Toussaint… Cartier’s… Magnificent “Panther”…

Jeanne Toussaint

“Une femme brilliante”…

La panthèrede Cartier“…

Indomitable… woman…

Director of Cartier’s… “Haute Joailleriedepartment from 1933 until 1968… world renowned (French) jewellers and watchmakers… Cartier was fabled for her exquisite imagination and prowess in being the creator of the elusive and magnificentpanther“… that “beauty of beauties” of the feline animal kingdom… “la panthère“…

Jeanne Toussaint

Who created the enduring and everlastingsymbole” of the… fabulous jeweller Cartierunder her impressive style and directorshipshe brilliantly manoeuvred CartiersArt Decostructured lines into her own more whimsical creations of figurative jewellery… in the form of her favourite flowers, birds, flamingoes, dragons, and animals – of which the “panther“… was the most famous

La panthère“… which she adorned with a sapphire cabochon of 152.35 carats… a row of diamonds and sapphirescreating… a ferocious and sensuously stunning animal into a magnificent brooch… worn by the very rich and famous… the likes of… Wallis SimpsonBarbara HuttonJeanne Charlotte… the Maharajah of Patna… to name but a few of the lucky famous personalities who wore her designs.

Jeanne Toussaint was born in 1887 in Charleroi, Belgium… a contemporary and great friend of GabrielleCocoChanel

Having created a new life for herself in the French capital Paris, she embarked on several affairs with tycoons and men of power and prestige

After the devastation of World War I, Toussaint fell in love with the forty three year old Louis Cartierone of the three Cartier brothers of the Cartier jewellery empire.

In spite of their love for each other, they were not permitted to marry, due to family pressure put on Louis… but she continued working for him and remained his mistress till the end, when Louis Cartier died in 1942, while on a trip to the United States.

Toussaint, who travelled extensively with Louis Cartier to… India, Persia, the Far East, and Africa… where upon spotting a panther… breathlessly exclaimed these words… “Onyx, diamonds, emeralds – a brooch“… thus visualising the panther as the brooch that made her famous.

Inspired by her great travels to exotic places, which she explored and re-visited throughout her rich and enriching years of her tenure at the prestigious and beauteous Cartiershe implemented her inspirational travels… like her close friend and confidante Coco Chanelinto great stylejust as unique and inventive as Chanels.

She wore turbans with evening pyjamas… a Chinese suit with long pearls… which made her popular with “la haute société” and artistic circles of the time.

Her brilliance in using the finest quality and most beautiful stones… and her cleverness in her choice of excellent superior craftsmanship, catapulted her into a world class league of legends

“Comme son amie… Coco Chanel”…

Her reputation for style, glamour, and chicness her imaginative love of combining different coloured stones and the juxtapositioning of precious with semi-precious stones, such as yellow sapphires and tourmalines, amethysts, and corals, lapis lazuli, and diamondsmade her the most flamboyant of Cartiers designers… ever.

However, it was “le symbole de Cartier“… the mysterious, seductive, and alluring jungle beastthe panther… that was synonymous with her and got her the apt nickname… “La panthère“.

En plus“… to prove her love of the big catsshe wore coats made of the feline skins… and her apartment was filled with the magnificent animal skins

As if that was not enough achievement for an amazing lifetime, Toussaint was also known for her courage

It was she… with the assistance of her colleague Pierre Lemarchandwho courageously created a bird imprisoned behind gold bars in a cage, using stones representing the patriotic colours of France – with white diamonds… blue lapis lazulu, and red coral, which was symbolic of the hated German occupation of Paris during Word War II, for which she was imprisoned and later granted her release only by the personal intervention of Gabrielle Chanel.

Après la libération“… Toussaint and Lemarchand re-created the adorable little bird… but this time as the “Liberty Bird”… “L’Oiseau Libéré“… which boded well with Toussaint, who…

“felt that jewellery needed to be based on joy… what better subject than birds?”…

In tribute to Toussaints influence on jewellery and modern design, the French government awarded… “la grande dame“… “le Grand-Croix de la Légion d’honneur“… the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour in 1955.

Jeanne Toussaint

A womanahead of her time

Formidable… audacious…

Seductive

Elegant… talented… creative…

Inflexible…

Brilliant

The unforgettable…

Cartiers

La panthère“…

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