In 1975 Mexican actress María Félix walked into Cartier’s Rue de la Paix boutique in Paris with an unusual companion – a baby crocodile and asked the shop workers if it would be possible to replicate her pet into necklace. She wanted that crocodile’s face, head, body, legs, and tail be immortalized as a custom-made necklace that could also be removed from the neck and worn separately as brooches.
Thus was born magnificent necklace constisting of two crocodiles: one 18-karat yellow gold set with more than 1,000 brilliant-cut fancy intense yellow diamonds weighing 60.02 carats, and another sculpted in 18-karat white gold set with 1,060 emeralds totaling 66.86 carats. The reptile’s eyes were embedded with rubies in one of the pieces and emeralds in the other.
That was 40 years ago and the original necklace forms part of Cartier’s Collection of exquisite historic jewels. Now Cartier has paid homage by releasing a four-piece jewellery collection containing drop earrings, a bracelet and ring wherein the crocodile’s body (made of diamonds and emeralds) wraps around the wrist or finger, and a necklace that reflects the original –with crocodile tail ending in three strands of emerald beads that the crocodile clutches. The necklace alone was sculpted of gold, set with diamonds and cabochons and meticulously finished –all to the tune of 1,875 hours of hand craftsmanship. Similarly, the smaller cuff bracelet took Cartier’s master craftsmen more than 1,000 hours to create.