One of the most powerful aspects of fine crystal jewellery is that the beauty and allure of the precious stones and metals used to make them allow for a lot of creativity when it comes to their designs.
It is this creativity that allows for unforgettable designs such as the Cartier Panthere articulated bracelet made for Wallis Simpson that are at once impeccably stylish, technical feats and incredibly striking looks.
However, Cartier also made another iconic animal-themed necklace and much like the Panthere, it adorned one of the most fascinating style icons of the 20th century and had a fascinating story behind it.
The Twin Crocodiles used a similar articulated design to the Panthere, except rather than a single animal that almost draped over its wearer’s wrists, the Twin Crocodiles consisted of two articulated golden crocodiles, one with scales studded with emeralds and featuring ruby eyes, whilst the other had yellow diamonds and emerald eyes.
They could be both worn separately as bracelets, much like the Panthere was, or the two could be connected together at the tails and at the neck, giving the impression of two crocodiles biting each other.
It was made to order for María Félix, a legendary actress during the Golden Age of Mexican cinema for her femme fatale roles and larger-than-life personality on and off-screen, reminiscent of Elizabeth Taylor.
In 1975, four years after what would turn out to be her final acting role, Ms Félix would ask Cartier to make the necklace, allegedly taking two baby crocodiles into the design meeting with her to act as inspiration.
This was not her first commission for the design house, having requested a platinum and white gold articulated serpent in a very similar style to the later crocodiles.
After over 1800 hours of work, the design was complete and was worn throughout the rest of Ms Félix’s life until she sold the majority of her jewellery back to Cartier before her death in 2002.