By Narda Gilmore
Diamonds may well be a girl’s best friend but the National Gallery of Australia’s forthcoming exhibition promises to impress everyone.
Cartier – The Exhibition opens at the gallery in Canberra next March and will run until July.
More than 300 pieces from the French jewellery house will be brought together in the biggest display of its kind in Australia, but one of its biggest drawcards is the halo tiara the Duchess of Cambridge wore at her wedding to Prince William.
Cartier’s director of image, style and heritage Pierre Rainero travelled to Canberra for a preview of the exhibition.
“It’s probably, 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 said.
“Cartier represents the poetic amalgamation of art, passion and style.”
The exhibition charts Cartier’s history throughout the 20th century and gives an insight into its famous international clients.
“Really interesting and glamorous people owned them. Great celebrities, royalty, aristocracy and film stars” NGA director Gerard Vaughan said.
‘One of the most valuable’ exhibitions ever displayed
Several items from the Royal Collection will be on display, including some of Queen Elizabeth’s favourite pieces.
Elizabeth Taylor’s matching ruby and diamond necklace and earrings will be on show, and a whole section of the display will be dedicated to International opera star Dame Nellie Melba.
“We didn’t realise just how many pieces she purchased. She was a major client,” Mr Vaughan said.
But he said bringing the exhibition together was a massive logistical exercise.
The jewellery has to be delivered in separate shipments leading up to the exhibition.
“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” Mr Vaughan said.