Maison Cartier Gilded Bean

by Susanah Cheok

The coffee bean makes a quaint and unexpected inspiration for Creative Director Jeanne Toussaint’s Grain de Café collection for Maison Cartier. Designed in 1938, this sophisticated, exuberant collection was aptly adopted and popularised by Princess Grace of Monaco in the ’50s. In 2023, Elle Fanning picks up the royal baton as its new Global Ambassador.

The profound genius of Creative Director Jeanne Toussaint elevated the humble coffee bean to new heights as a motif for her brilliant, cutting-edge collection of 1938 – the Grain de Café for Maison Cartier. Treated with an exquisite eye, she made it not just a precious commodity, but a thing of intricate beauty, when she turned it into an iconic symbol reminiscent of the French Riviera sun, as it bathes its wearer in its warm, luxurious glow.

Extra In The Ordinary

Rebellious vision is what disrupted the course of ordinary creativity, when something as humdrum as the everyday coffee bean could be turned into such original and extraordinary gilded pieces – wearable art that remain timeless to this day.

When Grain de Cartier was first launched, its progressive philosophy turned naturalism on its head. While at the service of nature, the atelier, under the direction of Jeanne Toussaint focused on a single goal: to bring this flora to life by linking research, movement, mastery of volumes and gold work to flights of resplendent fancy.

To free the initial potential of this bean of energy, its ebony black colour is cleverly transposed into gold of two shades. These are then sculpted into oblong shapes and striated on either side of a central rib. To add more depth and interest, the trussed-up beans are studded at the end with diamonds and mounted on yellow and white gold “palm tree” chains to convey playfulness, elegance, and a complicated voluminous aesthetic. The coffee bean as you’ve never seen it.

Regal Collection

Grain de Café currently presents as a collection of rings, necklaces, a bangle and a brooch, all in varying degrees of ornateness and esoteric design. The core collection comprises of 10 references ranging from Bijoux to New Jewellery. The ring and necklace in rose gold and set with diamonds and obsidian, high jewellery pieces, are exceptionally feminine. Metaphors for peace, they evoke images of sweet laurels and celebratory neckwear.

The yellow gold rings (with single and double striated bean rows) studded with dainty diamonds are perfect centre-finger rings for their ‘crowning’ effect. The bracelet, with double striated rows of beans and gold braids to coil the wearer’s wrist, looks set to be an IT piece to be worn on its own or stacked among other star pieces from Maison Cartier. The simple bib-collar necklace in yellow gold and diamonds is quietly elegant and fit for modern royalty.

Particularly spirited are the yellow gold and diamonds drop-bean trio of two rings and a brooch that certainly make perfect gifts to commemorate one’s own significant milestones or those of loved ones.

Marie-Laure Cérède, Jewellery and Watchmaking Creative Director puts it best when she says, “Grain de Café is Cartier’s new figurative collection; it’s the freedom to surpass literal creative execution and develop a multi-sensory architecture.

Grain de Café introduces a new preciousness by elevating a single material, gold, and playing with light, finishes and volume to create an acoustic collection brimming with soul.

Marie-Laure Cérède, Jewellery and Watchmaking Creative Director

Who better than the incandescent Elle Fanning to embody the beauty, heritage and sense of sunlight captured within the Grain de Café collection? Says Arnaud Carrez, Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, “We selected Elle Fanning for her talent, determination and range, which have allowed her to take on a variety of roles in the world of cinema. As our new Global Ambassador, she brings a luminous on-screen presence to the Grain de Café collection and campaign that recalls its most famous wearer, Princess Grace of Monaco.”

Images courtesy of Cartier, artwork by Curatedition. All rights reserved.

Related Links:

Clash de Cartier: Sensual Volume

Cartier Into the Wild: King of the Menagerie

Cartier Beautés du Monde: The Celebration

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