In 1949, Cartier presented Wallis Simpson, a.k.a. the Duchess of Windsor, with a specially designed piece of jewelry whose wild spirit matched her own: a white-gold-and-platinum panther brooch, encrusted in diamonds and mounted on a 152.35-carat Kashmir sapphire cabochon. This spectacular accessory, inspired by Africa’s sleek felines, was worn by the duchess as she and her husband (the man who wouldn’t be king) pranced around the capitals of Europe. Now, over half a century later, café society has morphed into cappuccino society, the 525-passenger Airbus A380 has usurped the transatlantic ocean liner, and the famous Panthère design has been rendered as an 18-karat-gold ring with tsavorite eyes and an onyx nose. It’s admittedly a tad more subtle than Her Grace’s legendary brooch, but Cartier’s charismatic cat maintains its seductive glow.
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