Have you ever seen jewels signed “Monture Cartier”? You can find this signature next to the makers marks on very special pieces. What can it tell us?
“Monture Cartier” signature appears on the jewels approximately only in the 40s and means, that this jewellery piece was a special command from a client that owned gemstones.
Throughout the history, many important pieces of jewellery made by Cartier were those designed and mounted specifically for clients by special order, using all sort of stones varying from citrines to kashmir sapphires and outstanding diamonds. Precious commissions were always one-of-a-kind creations. Cartier designers usually offered three design options for the client’s stones, so they can choose one. Afterwards, the drawings were often given to the client together with the piece. It is truly valuable and rare to have them still together in the collection.
To signify that the customer’s stones were used, every made-to-order piece was given the signature “Monture Cartier” meaning Cartier mounting. However, it was not always the case. In the beginning of the XX century such commissions were marked just with special numbers. Since approximately 1940s “Monture Cartier” signature was predominantly used in Parisian branch of the company, while London and New-York branches were using an english abbreviation “Mnt.” with the same meaning “mounted”.
The most famous jewel carrying the signature “Monture Cartier” is the flamingo brooch of Duchess of Windsor. The stones for it was taken from a necklace and four bracelets already owned by the Duchess and provided by the Duke to make this piece for her birthday. When Wallis jewels were sold in 1987, it was the Flamingo Brooch which became the emblem of the sale. It was the most sought-after lot and sold for £498,000. Afterwards, at the 2010 Sotheby’s auction, the Flamingo set a record once again. It sold for a whopping $1.7m.