The Story Behind Cartier’s Tutti Frutti Design

A vibrant and joyous celebration of texture, form, and color, Cartier’s tutti frutti designs are the much duplicated, most celebrated designs of the brand.  Bracelets are the most well known Tutti Frutti design, often fetching over a million dollars at Sotheby auctions.  The company also designed clip on earrings, necklaces, brooches, powder cases, and lapel pins in this style.  So what is the origin of this multi colored fanciful design?  Please allow us to share the history with you.

The Beginnings

In 1901, Pierre Cartier was commissioned by Queen Alexandra to create a custom piece for her.  The necklace was to be worn with three Indian gowns given to her by Mary Curzon, the wife of the Viceroy of India at the time.  Cartier, being the masterful jeweler that he was, successfully blended the the vibrant colors typically used in Indian textiles with techniques of modern jewelry craftsmanship to create a unique and celebrated custom piece.  This necklace was such a success that it led to future Royal commissions and also became the basis for future works by the House of Cartier.


The Story Behind Cartier’s Tutti Frutti Design
Image Via Sotheby’s


Ten years later, in 1911, Pierre’s brother, Jacques Cartier, set off on his first voyage to India.  His travels further influenced the development of tutti frutti jewelry when the master jeweler returned to Paris. Impressed by the bright colors and traditionally carved cabochons used in local designs, he sought to also incorporate those elements into his pieces.  The subsequent designs pay homage to Mughai decorative art.

The First Pieces

Jacques Cartier’s pieces were created in the 1920s using the finest richly hued sapphires, rubies, and emeralds, with diamond accents. Floral themes are used in abundance.  The traditional vine of Mughal art is depicted using a ribbon of diamonds.  The gemstones represent foliage, flowers, and also ripe fruit. Cabochon cuts in various shapes, such as leaves, were added. The jewels were set in platinum, as was the standard for haute couture jewelry at the time.


The Story Behind Cartier’s Tutti Frutti Design
Image via Sotheby’s


In 1936, a socialite named Daizy Fellows, the Singer sewing machine heiress, commissioned and enormous and extravagant tutti frutti necklace from Cartier.  Fellows was well known for her elegance and taste, and the extraordinary piece turned heads, just as she hoped it would. The design then became even more sought after.

Tutti Frutti is Born

It was not until 1970 that the collection was named “Tutti Frutti”.  The name was meant to be a light hearted reference which imparted the joyous celebration of color, texture, and form that the design encapsulates. While the term “tutti fruitt” is erroneously used to refer to colorful jewelry at times, the house of Cartier intended for it to be only used with the combination of three precious gemstones:  ruby, sapphire, and emerald.


The Story Behind Cartier’s Tutti Frutti Design
Image via Cartier


Cartier continues to produce exquisite pieces of jewelry utilizing the tutti frutti design.  The pieces take thousands of hours to create. Their most recent creation is called the Collier Rajastan, the new Magicien high jewelry piece.  This exquisite modern tutti frutti design took 5,220 hours to craft.  The design is a bib which can be worn three ways. It also has an antique 136.97 carat emerald as the focal point.  The cushion shaped gem can also be worn as a brooch. You can find the latest pieces in the House of Cartier’s Tutti Frutti High Jewelry line by visiting their website here.

If you are a fine jewelry enthusiast, we have many informative articles you are sure to enjoy.  Learn about the 2017 Panthere De Cartier Watch Collection, or explore the trend of animal print jewelry with us.  We are sure you will find something new and also unique. You might just want to add them to your fine jewelry collection.

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The Story Behind Cartier’s Tutti Frutti Design