Cartier earrings shine in sale

A pair of Cartier articulate pendant earrings with a poignant wartime story was one of the standout lots in a recent sale at Chiswick Auctions.

The earrings, set with a square-cut, stem-cut and oval-cut aquamarines with smaller old brilliant-cut diamonds, are typical of the late Art Deco style when, after the Wall Street Crash in 1929, some of the less expensive gemstones became popular in jewellery manufacture.

Jacques Cartier in London famously championed the ‘humble’ aquamarine in the mid to late 1930s, pairing the stone with diamonds for an effect he considered suited to independent-minded women of the era.

This pair came for sale from the granddaughter of Mary Booker, a remarkable woman whose story was later told in a novel by her husband Michael Burn. In 1941, bombed out of her London house during the Blitz, Mary Booker had a chance meeting Richard Hillary, a Spitfire pilot recovering from terrible injuries sustained in the Battle of Britain. Their love affair blossomed until Hillary was killed when his plane crashed into a mountain during night-flying training.

Mary’s earrings had a guide of £3,000-5,000 and sold to a trade buyer at £12,500.