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Queen Elizabeth’s ‘halo’ tiara is just one of the highlights of Cartier's current exhibition in Canberra
Queen Elizabeth’s ‘halo’ tiara is just one of the highlights of Cartier's current exhibition in Canberra

‘Most valuable’ jewellery exhibition opens in Australia

The tiara Kate Middleton wore at her wedding to Prince William will be just one historic piece on display at a jewellery exhibition in Canberra.

Hosted by the National Gallery of Australia (NGA), Cartier: The Exhibition will run until late July. It showcases more than 300 luxury pieces on loan from royal families, celebrities and renowned luxury jewellery house Cartier’s permanent collection.


“This is going to be one of the most valuable assemblages ever displayed in the history of Australia.”
Gerard Vaughan, NGA director

Highlights include Queen Elizabeth’s ‘halo’ tiara that was worn by Kate Middleton at her wedding, Princess Grace of Monaco’s 10.48-carat diamond engagement ring, Elizabeth Taylor’s matching ruby and diamond necklace and earrings, and a jewelled bandeau (a 1920s headpiece) that once belonged to socialite Lady Edwina Mountbatten.

The bandeau features rubies, emeralds and sapphires carved into flowers, as well as diamond-studded ‘berries’ set within platinum ‘vine branches’. The art deco style later became known as the ‘tutti frutti’ style. It is understood it is the only surviving tutti frutti bandeau and it has never before been authorised for loan anywhere else in the world.

"This is the first time ever that the bandeau is allowed to travel outside Great Britain to a national Australian museum," Cartier’s director of image, style and heritage Pierre Rainero was quoted as saying in an ABC report. "The Australian public have the privilege to discover this object in an incredible context."

According to Rainero, the exhibition is “one of the most valuable” ever showcased. “In terms of the number of pieces and in depth study of the evolution of Cartier style, it's really one of the most important exhibitions ever,” he added.

NGA director Gerard Vaughan echoed similar sentiments.

“Really interesting and glamorous people owned them [the pieces]; great celebrities, royalty, aristocracy and film stars,” Vaughan said. "We are not able to talk about the value of this collection, but I think you can work out that this is going to be one of the most valuable assemblages ever displayed in the history of Australia.”

Cartier: The Exhibition will run until 22 July at the NGA. More information can be found here.

the 'tutti frutti' headpiece


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Friday, 22 June, 2018 12:07am
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