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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Post Emerald Necklace

Photograph of the Post Emerald Necklace (NMNH G5023), digitally enhanced by SquareMoose for a 2017 jewelry publication by the Hillwood Museum
Photo by Chip Clark and digitally enhanced by SquareMoose. Click to zoom.
Catalog Number NMNH G5023-00
Locality Colombia

Gift of Mrs. Marjorie M. Post in 1964.This object was designed by Cartier, Inc.

This Art Deco Indian-style necklace was made in 1928-1929 by Cartier, Inc. and features 24 baroque-cut emerald drops, each surmounted by a smaller emerald bead, mounted in platinum with pave-set diamond links and an elaborate clasp. The rich green emeralds are from Colombia, the source of the finest emeralds. Incorporating Indian influences and gemstones into jewelry was one of Cartier’s great innovations during the Art Deco era. The Art Deco Period (1920-1935) produced dazzling jewelry that was dramatically different from the jewelry of the previous periods, shifting from soft colors and flowing lines of the Art Nouveau era to bold bright colors and straight lines. New geometric cuts for gems complimented the symmetry and streamlined look of Art Deco jewelry, and emeralds, sapphires and rubies became very popular. This magnificent necklace belonged to Marjorie Merriweather Post, who wore it dressed as “Juliette” for the Palm Beach Everglades Ball in 1929. She also purchased an Indian-style emerald brooch that was originally made by Cartier, London in 1923 before it was transformed for Mrs. Post in New York in 1928. She was known to have worn the two pieces together, the brooch attached as a pendant on the necklace, which was longer than it is today. Cartier designed a new clasp in 1929 and then shortened the 3-rows of emeralds sometime between 1929-1935. In 1941, Cartier shortened the necklace a second time to its present length. Marjorie Merriweather Post was heiress to the Post cereal fortune and a collector of French and Russian art. The Post Emerald Necklace is one of several major donations she made to the National Gem Collection; others include the Napoleon Diamond Necklace, Marie-Louise Diadem, Blue Heart Diamond, Maximilian Emerald Ring, and Marie Antoinette Earrings (through her daughter Eleanor Barzin). The necklace, donated in 1964, is on exhibit in the Gem Hall at the National Museum of Natural History.



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