Tutti Frutti

Contributed by Charissa Hooyman, Jewelry Designer

In past articles, we discussed sapphires, rubies, diamonds, and emeralds. Now let’s mix all that together to make a fruit salad. No, I don’t mean the kind you can eat; that would result in broken teeth and problems with your digestive system. So what do I mean by making a fruit salad? It is a jewelry collection created by Cartier. It all started when Pierre and Jacques Cartier went to India and were fascinated by their bright colors and carved gems. Over time, it became known as Tutti Frutti, even today it is a sought out collection. 

In 1901, Pierre Cartier was commissioned to create an Indian necklace, using various pieces of Queen Alexandra’s jewelry, to be worn with three gowns that was gifted to her by Mary Curzon, wife of Lord Curzon the Viceroy of India. Pierre’s inspiration came from India’s bright and vibrant culture. Jacques Cartier headed up the London branch of Cartier, meaning he was in charge of the Indian jewelry business.

In 1911, Jacques went to India and fell in love with their carved gemstone jewelry, bringing about a new trend in art deco. Some of sapphires, rubies, diamonds, and emeralds were carved into shapes that resembled fruit in a salad. For example, the emeralds were carved to look like leaves. So Jacques used that same style to create this new collection for Cartier. After all the gemstones were carved, they were then mounted in platinum. Thru the Art Deco (architecture and geometric shapes) years, Cartier’s fruit salad was very popular. In the 1940s is approximately when the collection became known as Tutti Frutti, before that time it was considered vulgar.

Over the years there have been necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and broaches designed in the Tutti Frutti collection. A famous Tutti Frutti necklace was commissioned by Daisy Fellows, the Singer sewing machine heiress. Evelyn Lauder owned a bracelet that sold at auction for $2 million. These two pieces in the collection are the more famous pieces of jewelry.
Today, different pieces of the Tutti Frutti collection have been sold at auction for millions of dollars. Yes, you read correct, millions of dollars. 

- 2011, an Exceptional Art Deco Tutti Frutti sold for $1.8 million at Christie’s Auction House in London.
- 2015, an enameled Tutti Frutti bracelet sold for $1.6 million at Christie’s Auction House.
- 2015, a pair of 1925 Art Deco Tutti Frutti ear clips sold for $185,000 and an Art Deco barrette sold for $ 59,375 at Doyle of New York.
- 2016, a bracelet sold for $2.1 million at Sotheby’s Jewelry Auction.

From the early 20th century thru this early 21st century, Cartier’s Tutti Frutti jewelry collection is highly sought out by those who can afford it. This collection is definitely a work of art. What do you think?