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Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2015

Exotic, ferce and elegant, the ‘wild cats’ are much more than a symbol in the world of fne jewellery. They are the epitome of extreme femininity, a tribute to the delicateness and power of women nicely wrapped in diamonds and gold by Cartier.

A Century ago, the frst ‘Great Cat’ motif entered the Cartier family by means of an onyx-spotted panther pattern wristwatch created by the famous French designer Charles Jacqueau. Through the years, the initial pattern has evolved to fully sculptured animals and the array of cats has widened to include the striped tiger as well as the panther.

Promoted to Director of High Jewellery at Cartier in 1933, Jeanne Toussaint, a feline-lover herself nicknamed ‘The Panther’ by Louis Cartier and her colleagues, immediately took the responsibility for supervising the ‘Great Cat’ designs and together with the outstanding creativity of designer Peter Lemarchand, produced a variety of jewels which forever immortalised the feline motif within the context of Cartier design.

After the frst three-dimensional panther was created in 1948 for the duchess of Windsor, famous Cartier clients regularly fell in love with the feline jewels. Daisy Fellowes and Nina Dyer, for example, both appropriated this new look. American heiress Barbara Hutton, notable style rival of the Duchess of Windsor, was also famous for her preference for Jeanne Toussaint’s tiger menagerie.

During these hundred years of design, the iconic Cartier cats have gone through multiple variations but they are still considered today as a must-have for jewellery collectors. New designs from the 1980s and 1990s have only furthered the demand for these rare and spectacular jewels.

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A diamond and onyx 'Double Panther' bangle, by Cartier. Estimate CHF400,000 – CHF600,000 ($408,250 - $612,375)Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2015

Realistically modelled as two swivelling facing panthers, entirely pavé-set with diamonds, interspersed with buff top onyx spots, the heads further set with onyx noses and pear-shaped emerald eyes, inner circumference 15.5 cm, with French assay marks for platinum and gold, in red Cartier case. Signed Cartier Paris, nos. 013084 and HSA01098 

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A coloured diamond and onyx Tiger bangle, by Cartier. Estimate CHF300,000 – CHF500,000 ($306,188 - $510,313)Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2015

Realistically modelled as a tiger encircling the wrist, entirely pavé-set with yellow diamonds interspersed with buff top onyx stripes, the head further set with onyx nose and marquise-cut emerald eyes, to the concealed clasp, inner circumference 15.2 cm, mounted in gold, in red Cartier case. Signed Cartier Paris, no. 161627 

Please note that the coloured diamonds have not been tested for natural colour origin. 

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A 12.90 carats Ceylon sapphire, diamond, emerald and onyx Panther ring, by CartierEstimate CHF70,000 – CHF90,000 ($71,444 - $91,856)Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2015

Of crossover design, figuring a pavé-set diamond panther with emerald eyes, onyx nose and articulated paws, the opposing terminal set with a cushion-shaped sapphire, weighing approximately 12.90 carats, ring size 7½, with French assay mark for gold, in red leather Cartier case. Signed Cartier, no. 810 963 

Accompanied by report no. 81112 dated 14 July 2015 from the SSEF Swiss Gemmological Institute stating that the origin of the sapphire is Ceylon (Sri Lanka), with no indications of heating 

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A diamond and onyx Panther brooch, by Cartier Estimate CHF30,000 – CHF50,000 ($30,619 - $51,031)Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2015

Realistically modelled as a walking panther, entirely pavé-set with diamonds and buff top onyx spots, the head further set with an onyx nose and pear-shaped emerald eyes, 7.2 cm, with French assay marks for platinum and gold, in red Cartier case. Signed Cartier, no. 946254 

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A diamond, emerald and onyx Panther ring, by Cartier. Estimate CHF20,000 – CHF30,000 ($20,413 - $30,619)Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2015

Of crossover design, the pavé-set diamond coiled band with a panther head terminal, enhanced with emerald eyes and onyx nose, ring size 5½, with French assay mark for gold, in red leather Cartier case. Signed Cartier, no. 748128 

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A diamond, emerald and onyx Panther necklace, by Cartier. Estimate CHF20,000 – CHF30,000 ($20,413 - $30,619)Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2015

The gold brick-link chain centering a pavé-set diamond panther with onyx nose and emerald eyes, inner circumference 39.5 cm, with French assay mark for gold. Signed Cartier, no. 874716 

Accompanied by Cartier certificate no. 2204108 dated 12 November 2001 

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A diamond and coloured diamond 'Panther 1925' wristwatch, by Cartier. Estimate CHF10,000 – CHF15,000 ($10,206 - $15,309)Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2015

The circular grey guilloché enamel dial within a diamond and grey diamond pavé-set bezel designed as a stylised coiled panther, with onyx eye, to the satin straps, quartz movement, inner circumference 14.0 cm, with Swiss marks for gold. Dial, case and buckle signed Cartier, nos. 2323 MG337501 (case) and 281002 (movement)

Please note that the coloured diamonds have not been tested for natural colour origin. 

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Four silver and glass Panther desk ornaments, by Cartier. Estimate CHF2,000 – CHF3,000 ($2,041 - $3,062)Photo Christie's Image Ltd 2015

Each silver panther, represented in four different positions, attached to a blue transparent glass sphere, sphere diameter 3.0 cm, 401 gr, in three red leather fitted Cartier cases. Signed Cartier Spain (4)

CHRISTIE'S. GENEVA MAGNIFICENT JEWELS, 10 November 2015, Geneva