For its newest launch, Cartier pushes boundaries with a high jewellery collection that not only dazzles but challenges our perceptions of reality. Sixième Sens, which translates to Sixth Sense, provokes thought and emotion. Here, The Glossary speaks to Pierre Rainero, Cartier’s director of style and heritage, and Jacqueline Karachi, director of high jewellery creation, about the newly unveiled high jewellery collection of dazzling rings and necklaces designed to stimulate all of the senses.
Jewellery is one of the most tangible art forms around – it’s known as ‘hard luxury’ after all – yet its beauty and allure rests very much on its intangibility. There’s something incredibly sensual about wearing an exquisite high jewellery creation on your skin, handcrafted from gold and precious stones, which have been forged by nature some millions of years ago. It’s emotional and elevating, if not inexplicable.
Such is the theme of Sixième Sens, Cartier’s latest high jewellery collection. “Sixieme Sens is a type of emotion that cannot be linked to one of the five senses,” explains Pierre Rainero, Cartier’s director of image, style and heritage. “There is something that touches you and that is uncontrollable, a kind of brilliance linked to a vision of the piece once worn.”
Such sensuous magnificence finds expression in the Phaan ring, where a 4.01ct rose-cut diamond secretly sits below an exceptional 8.20ct ruby, encircled by triangle diamonds and mini ruby balls which seems to almost magically illuminate the centre stone. Another showstopper is Parhelia, a statement-making triple-finger ring that doubles as a brooch – its intense blue 21.51ct sapphire cabochon kicking off five rows of diamonds and emeralds on either side, as black lacquer adds a play of shadow and light.
Pairing sapphire and emeralds is a Cartier signature – christened the “peacock motif” by Louis Cartier in fin-de-siècle Paris – and key pieces in the collection nod to design codes of the house, but in a thoroughly modern way. Cue the likes of the Meride necklace, its checkerboard pattern recalling the black spots of Cartier’s mascot, the panther. The piece sits on the neck in a 3D-like structure, each element mounted on its own level. It’s monochrome in tone – in a mosaic of white gold, onyx, rock crystal and diamonds – but there’s nothing black and white about it. As Jacqueline Karachi, Cartier’s creative director, says: “Full and empty, clarity and shadow, polished mirror in precious metal…This necklace is an entire labyrinth for the eyes – which are fooled and perspective is warped.”
Perceptions are also altered with Pixelage, a necklace that oozes a warm, inviting sensuality – via a mesh of white, orange and yellow diamonds that meet in three golden topazes totalling 27.34cts. Pixelated in style, the piece again celebrates the piebald pattern of the panther, which is just one of many muses that slink its way into Sixième Sens. After all, “It is difficult to reduce the maison to a single creative expression,” says Rainero. “At Cartier, our main goal is to explore every facet of the concept of beauty, and the aspirations are extremely numerous.” And exactly what this collection does, from the tangible right through to the intangible.