FROM DRAWING TO JEWELLERY
The production of a panther requires a three-dimensional vision, a sculptural and anatomical approach to the body that goes beyond the ornamental.
In the panther, everything is analysed and itemised: the space between the nose and eyes, the curve that hems the eye, the cheek that protrudes but not excessively so, to avoid shading the eye. The eyes, their proportion and their position determine the character of a panther. The ears should be neither too upright nor too flat, paved outside, polished inside. The paws, starting with the detail of each toe hemmed by a line, an engraving or a paving, are the result of long development work.
The spots help to give volume, accentuating or reducing it, depending on the required effect. They are larger on the prominent parts of the animal such as the back, smaller on the sides until they completely disappear on the white belly. Though their layout may seem random, it meets a specific order which takes into account the distance between each of them and the number of diamonds that separate them; moving one means moving them all.
Polygon shapes, triangles or diamonds, the spots set the pace and follow the animal’s muscle frame. They also help create a sense of perspective depending on whether they are in the foreground, or lying in the background, which gives the impression of a fleeing animal in movement, from front to back.
THE WORK OF THE GEM CUTTER
The animal is first carved from a block of green wax by an engraver. This freedom in the work of the material allows the sculptor to effectively express the subtlety and power of movement within the animal.
Indeed, a drawing, however perfect it may be, only provides a flat – therefore partial – vision of the object. Modelling in the form of a wax sculpture moulded and drafted in metal maintains the technical and aesthetic mastery. Using this wax sculpture, the jeweller can study the arrangement of the stones: the colours to use, the way they interplay, the angle of the stone.
This wax from which the jeweller makes a metal mould can then be set with thousands of overlaid brilliant-cut diamonds that will give shape to the muscles, paws and head.
Traditionally, the stones used range from sapphires to diamonds and onyx to evoke the coat, while emeralds or garnets are used for the eyes.
These spots are individually cut by the expert hands of the gem cutter. Each spot can take up to an hour’s work. Each is given a different shape to give more movement and life to the animal.
THE PANTHER SETTING
Captured in all its attitudes, it pounces, roars, leaps, stands tall... all the while showing off its proud coat of brilliant-cut diamonds, the majestic interpretation of the spot or “fur” setting, a master craft known only to Cartier. This setting is suited to the panther theme as the stone is encircled by tiny gold threads folded over the stone in order to reproduce the effect of the animal’s coat. An inimitable setting with honeycomb open-work, a sculpture paving and onyx décor or sapphire cabochons. The art of setting consists of giving the paving a voluminous, fluid appearance that emphasises and exalts without crushing every aspect of the animal. Thus, the metal is overshadowed while the movement remains. To give the animal its final shape, the jeweller then assembles its various joints. These operations (sculpting, casting, stone setting, setting, mounting of the articulated animal) require more than one year’s work for some pieces.