Cartier Jewels Dazzle at the Denver Art Museum

Exclusive exhibition of treasures from Parisian jeweler.

DenverArtMuseum-logoI don’t generally wear much jewelry: my wedding ring, my late mother’s wedding ring, my birthstone in a simple setting on a thin gold chain around my neck and cheap earrings that I bought somewhere on my travels. My few good pieces reside in the safe deposit box, taken out only for the rare dressy occasional in ultra-casual Boulder. But I love to look at bling. At the Tower of London, I ride the moving walkway along the Crown Jewels several times. On tours of stately homes, palaces and museums, I am also entranced by the precious jewels. So “Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century” at the Denver Art Museum through March 15 has my name all over it.

Here I am. Does the drool show? I love seeing grandiose bling.
Here I am near the entrance to “Brilliant.” Does the drool show? I love seeing grandiose bling.

Some 250 items, mostly from the Cartier Collection in Paris, are on dazzling display at the museum. The earliest pieces before World War I belonged largely to European royalty and nobility — and to the occasional American heiress who married a titled European. Later, even as the world plunged from Jazz Age prosperity and imped through the Depression and World War II, Cartier kept designing jewelry, decorative accessories and fashion accessories. The exhibition, which snakes its way through several gallery pods, includes “Aristocracy and Aspiration,” “Art Deco: New Outlook,” “Art Deco: Foreign Fascination,” “Masculine View,” “Age of Glamour” and “Icons of Style” (this last being Cartier jewels that belonged to Daisy Fellowes, the Duchess of Windsor, Princess Grace of Monaco, Elizabeth Taylor and Mexican film star Maria Félix. Be awestruck:

004009

014

 

One room contains such man-pleasing objects as aircraft and space commemorative items.
One room contains such man-pleasing objects as aircraft and space commemorative items.
After the opening of King Tut's tomb in 1922, Egyptian design themes were all the rage.
After the opening of King Tut’s tomb in 1922, Egyptian design themes were all the rage.
Even stars and other celebs kept scrapbooks.
Even stars and other celebs kept scrapbooks.