An exceptional pair of Art Deco platinum, emerald, diamond and onyx cufflinks by Cartier. Each face is made from a melon-carved emerald bead dating to India's Mughal Empire (17th/18th centuries), topped with a round onyx disk centered with an old European cut diamond. The emeralds, variously weighing approximately 7.98, 6.34, 6.13 and 5.30 carats, total nearly 26 carats. The have a strong green color with yellow overtones and inclusions characteristic of the Chivor mines in Colombia. The diamonds are graded as F color, VVS clarity. The removable connectors are marked with the workshop master's mark and French platinum marks. Each of the fixed platinum mountings is signed "Cartier".
Jacques Cartier was one of the first European jewelers to travel to India and to acquire antique emerald, ruby and sapphire beads from the maharajahs. These stones were re-set in Cartier's Paris workrooms. One of the most important commissions using carved Mughal beads was a brooch for Marjorie Merriweather Post. That brooch features emeralds carved in the same shape as those in these cufflinks.
Origin: France, ca. 1920. Condition: excellent, all original. Dimensions: faces, approximately 7/16" diameter. Condition: excellent; emeralds have surface wear consistent with 300-400 years of use as jewelry. Weight: 8.6 grams. Approximate Total Gemstone Weight: diamond, .24 carat; emerald, 25.75 carats.