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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Today Cartier caters more to would-be princesses than real ones—you know the sort (and excusez-moi if you are the sort!)—but there was a time when real royalty was its biggest clientele. And though probably no Indian Maharajah ever caught a tiger by the tail, in the early 1900s the French firm began capturing cats—especially the company's signature panthers—in glittering form for the subcontinent's diamond-loving dandies, a fashion that soon spread to their cosmopolitan counterparts in Europe.

This month, as an homage to its history of Indian-inspired inventions, Cartier released its Inde Mystérieuse collection of high jewelry, including this feline fantasy necklace. The most remarkable of a multi-piece suite that includes a matching ring and brooch, the gold and diamond (over 1000!) collar combines the chic and surreal to create one wild animal no one would ever run from. We've all seen kitties chase their tails, but never one that caught his with as much style. (And just imagine a piece of tail that can't bite back.)

Appropriately, the necklace first made its debut in the jungle that is Art Basel Miami, where Cartier built a dome in the city's botanical garden. Since then it's taken up residence at the jeweler's Fifth Avenue flagship in New York—until the right animal lover, or lover of an animal lover, decides to take it home. Until then, go in to eye, and maybe paw, the over-the-top exquisiteness.

More pettable pieces from Cartier's Inde Mysterieuse collection...

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