Jewels of the Royal World

Battle of the Tutti Frutti

In the early 20th century, Cartier was a hive of creative activity. Remember all those blackened steel and crystal tiaras? Jacques Cartier also began experimenting with combining faceted and cabochon colored stones – with some diamond accents – into dense, closely set pieces. The end results were often natural elements, such as stylized flower baskets and wandering vines.

This style, often imitated by other jewellers, become known as ‘Tutti Frutti’. This jewelry definitely announces itself, and was and is worn by some of the most colorful magpies around. Let’s take a look at the “Tutti Frutti” among us and render our opinion.

Queen Sofia

These rarely seen pieces owned by Queen Sofia are said to be a gift from an Arab country. The two brooches are actually earrings but, given the size of the pieces, it’s understandable Sofia was probably more comfortable wearing them as brooches. The set also contains a matching necklace. It’s unknown whether these are genuine Cartier pieces. (H/T to Iselen for this information).

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Queen Elizabeth

It is unknown whether this Tutti Frutti brooch is by Cartier or if it is simply in the style of the Cartier pieces. It contains sapphire and ruby flowers, all set with diamond centers. The leaves are carved emeralds. I don’t know that the Queen is a “Tutti Frutti’ fan. The pin spends most of its time in the her jewel box and was last worn by her in public in 2014,

Queen Maxima

It’s believed Willem Alexander bought this “Tutti Frutti’ set from Christie’s Amsterdam in 2007. Queen Maxima debuted it at her 40th birthday celebration. The set contains a necklace and bracelet, based on the Cartier style. The necklace is a graduated line of carved emeralds, ruby and sapphire flowers supported by a diamond-set seam with a diamond clasp. The bracelet is also a diamond-set branch with carved ruby, emerald and sapphire buds.

Queen Ena

This piece was commissioned by Queen Ena from Cartier in the 1920s, in the midst of “Tutti Frutti’ madness. The central diamond vine motif is shared with other ‘Tutti Frutti’ jewelry, but the use of conch pearls is unique and was presumably a request of the client. ‘Tutti Frutti’ light, so to speak. It was auctioned by Sothebys in 2012.

Edwina Mountbatten

Owned by the infamous Edwina Mountbatten, wife of Lord Louis Mountbatten, this tiara is a geniune Cartier piece, and as such is extremely valuable. The tiara is set in platinum and can be worn as two bracelets or as a bandeau, so the owner can get their money’s worth of “Tutti Frutti’. The piece contains carved sapphires, rubies and emeralds which represent fruit and leaves.

Recently, a few of Edwina’s pieces surfaced in an auction of her daughter Patricia’s jewels.

Daisy Fellowes (As worn by Princess Caroline)

 Daisy Fellowes was a socialite with flamboyant taste and the means to indulge herself. She commissioned Cartier to create a piece of Tutti Frutti jewelry that would be loosely based on Asian ethnic jewellery. They responded with a magnificent necklaceof sapphires, rubies, emeralds and diamonds set in platinum, and a matching set of earrings. The necklace was borrowed by Princess Caroline for the 1994 Red Cross Ball.

What's your take on Tutti Frutti?