The house of Cartier has many beloved icons across its watches and jewellery pillars – think the wildly popular Love bracelets, the evergreen Tank, the eclectic Tutti Frutti range and so on. But it’s the panther that is Cartier’s mascot and spirit animal.
History lesson 101: the panther has been a Cartier motif for over a century, with one of the earliest examples being a ladies’ wristwatch in 1914 that sported an abstract feline motif. Three years later, a more literal representation of the panther appeared on a cigarette case gifted by family member Louis Cartier to the jewellery designer Jeanne Toussaint.
The panther has been a Cartier motif for over a century and is best represented today through the La Panthere range.
The latter was an absolute juggernaut in the Cartier story – for the uninitiated, Toussaint was the maison’s artistic director of high jewellery. Famously a fan of the feline, it was Toussaint who commandeered the house in a particularly influential (and highly collectible) period from 1933 to 1970.
Among her most notable creations: transforming the panther motif into sculptural and three-dimensional creations that came to be known as La Panthere, which became a massive hit for the house during the time and continues to be so till today.
The La Panthere family has since been expanded beyond jewels to include timepieces (such as the highly popular Panthere de Cartier watch pictured here, which was first launched in 1983), leather goods and fragrances.
For the jewellery fiends out there, here’s some trivia: the very first La Panthere piece (a gold, emerald and enamel brooch) was actually crafted for Wallace Simpson (the late Duchess of Windsor and famed jewellery connoisseur), in 1948.
You can now see the storied history behind La Panthere for yourself at Cartier’s upcoming Into The Wild Experience exhibition. The showcase takes place at Bayfront Pavilion, Gardens by the Bay from Oct 16 to Oct 30 and is open to public, though registration is required – sign up here.