It’s a little ambitious to call a high jewellery collection Sixieme Sens (French for “six senses”), especially since we’re sure Cartier doesn’t need its jewellery to be tasted or heard, no matter how sumptuous they look and how jangly the stones and metals sound.

Still, there is no denying that the brand’s latest high jewellery pieces are a feast for the eyes, with one highlight being the Pixelage necklace, a panther-inspired beauty with so much texture that it demands to be touched and worn.

Panthere clip brooch, from 1949.
Panthere clip brooch, from 1949.

The panther has been a much beloved motif at Cartier for over a century, and to appreciate the way it has been interpreted in this necklace today is to appreciate the journey it took to get here.

The first hint of the animal inspiration showed up in 1914, on a wristwatch paved with diamonds and onyx to resemble a panther’s coat. It was designed by Jeanne Toussaint, the brand’s head of bags, accessories and objects.

Three years later, an enamoured Louis Cartier gifted Toussaint with a cigarette case with a full panther design on it, and the concept took root.

Yellow gold and black lacquer ring, from 2005.
Yellow gold and black lacquer ring, from 2005.

After Toussaint was appointed creative director of Cartier’s jewellery department in 1933, the panther quickly found its way into rings, bracelets, and necklaces, following the success of a panther brooch she designed for Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor in 1948.

No matter what form the big cat took, the jewellery it graced was always defined by elegance and splendour.

Wristwatch with panther-spot motif, from 1914.
Wristwatch with panther-spot motif, from 1914.

Now, the Pixelage is no exception. Though stylised, the necklace is still distinctly feline, thanks to the many polished onyx stones interspersed with white, yellow and orange diamonds that represent the luscious coat of panther fur.

Its name comes from the pixelated style of rectangular-cut stones, arranged geometrically. Topazes totalling 27.34 carats anchor the piece with their golden-brown sparkle.

Toussaint would have been proud.

(Related: Cartier is refreshing its classic timepieces for a new generation)

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