A pair of earrings that can be worn as brooches; a necklace you can wear three ways; a tiara that can become a suite of jewels. Transformable jewels are the crème de la crème of high jewellery savoir faire. The grandmaster of such inventive creations? Cartier.
The “jeweller of kings and the king of jewellers” — a famed moniker King Edward VII of England bestowed upon the brand — has embraced this highly specialised skill set since the early 1900s, elevating it into a fascinating art form that delicately balances innovation and functionality.
One of Cartier’s earliest multi-wear creations was a pair of fern spray brooches from 1903 that could transform into a tiara, a necklace or a bodice ornament. It also pioneered the popular Art Deco diamond clip brooches that could be paired, worn individually, or clipped to a frame.
More than a century later, these modular creations are now part of Cartier’s design vernacular. The multi-wear and multifunctional designs remain the most inventive and technically complex jewellery it has ever created. They are also among the brand’s most precious jewellery, as exemplified by a recent highlight from the Sixième Sens Par Cartier collection.
The Kheon hair ornament is a spectacular creation that metamorphosises into a glorious suite of jewels in the hands of Cartier’s expert jewellers. The head bandeau is decorated with a honeycomb structure of emeralds and diamonds, giving it a decisively 1920s vibe.
It can be worn in its original form as a headpiece, or turned into a pendant necklace, diamond collier, bracelet, and even an elaborate hand jewel with its matching ring.
It consists of two rows of 32 Zambian emeralds totalling 17.15 cts surrounded by baguette-, brilliant- and square-cut diamonds set in serrated geometric shapes. A detachable drop pendant composed of three emeralds framed in diamonds hangs at the midpoint.
As with all of Cartier’s masterpieces, the devil is in the details. Ensuring that each removable component can be adjusted and removed easily is a custom-made frame and a technically ingenious network of invisible links and settings that discreetly blend into the overall design.
The end result? A timeless design defined by a pure and seamless silhouette, on a structure that is highly flexible and wearable.