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Object Of Desire: An Indian-Inspired, Threaded Cartier Bracelet

By Nancy Hass

François Coquerel

The painstaking technique of threading tiny gem beads to make an elaborate piece of high jewellery — used for the chrysoberyls and tourmalines in this Cartier bracelet, which is crowned with a 65-carat cushion-cut rubellite — first evolved in India at least a thousand years ago. Threading has, over the past century, become one of Cartier’s signatures, evidence of the inspiration the Paris-based house has always found on the subcontinent: Jacques Cartier, a son of the founder, traveled to India in 1911 to research jewels and cultivate the business of the maharajahs. These days, a small group of specially trained Cartier artisans cull, cut and polish the perfect stones for threading, now done on microbraided Kevlar instead of cotton or silk. The weight, shape and feel of each bead dictates which of several intricate knots should hold it in place — it is a delicate art of both touch and imagination.