Sterling silver powder case, produced for Cartier, fired enamel manufactured by Salimbeni.
Powder case for handbag in 925/1000 sterling silver with black fired enamel. Opening with spring button. Beveled mirror and net inside. Size cm. 7,3 x 7,3 x 1,5. Weight gr.250. Created in Art Deco style for Cartier USA in the 1980s, inspired by designs by Louis Cartier from the early 1900s. Manufactured in Florence in the Salimbeni factory with completely manual execution by artisan artists with high thickness plate and big reinforcements suitable to support several firings of enamelling at great fire at about 800° C.
About cooperation Salimbeni and Cartier.
Our first meetings with the Cartier USA Company took place through the Giorgini Company, the first “Buying Office” set up in Florence immediately after the Second World War, which had the purpose of bringing together Florentine, and also Italian, producers with American buyers, who especially appreciated the artistic objects still manufactured by artisans who still took inspiration from the Italian Renaissance, using techniques handed down from generation to generation.
Mrs. Gina Pestelli, wife of a Florentine retail jeweller, was in charge of contacts with Cartier USA, above all an employee, while her daughter, also for Giorgini, took care of the fashion that in those years was affirmed in Florence with the events of “Pitti “.
With their help, we began to supply frames and boxes in sterling silver gold plated with malachite and other semi-precious stones.
At the same time, the official buyer of Cartier, Mr. William Smith, began to appreciate and commission the first objects with fired enamels, a process of which we have always been specialists.
In 1975 we began exhibiting at the prestigious New York Jewellery Association Show, which we participated in both the February and July editions, for a good 26 years until 2001.
In New York in those years the “Art deco style” was still very much appreciated, still mindful of the beautiful early 20th century architecture of the great buildings such as the “Crysler” or the “Empire State”.
We then began to produce frames, boxes, evening bags, “objets de vertu” and other objects in “art deco style” which were very popular with Mr. Smith who gave us some photocopies of Louis Francois Cartier drawings to reproduce them. Thus, numerous cigarette cases, powder compacts, evening bags, frames and table boxes were created exclusively for Cartier USA which, at the time, had the prestigious “Silver Department” on the first floor of the Cartier store on Fifth Avenue.
An evening bag, with matching cigarette case and powder compact, were redone on the design created for a gift given to Mary Pickford at the time. In a 1986 Cartier catalogue, which we have, a photo of our compact was published. We still have many objects from this production and all the photos. At that time the President of Cartier USA was Mr. Ralph Destino and the property was of Mrs. Natalie Hocq. I had the pleasure of meeting them.
At that time many others Italians silversmiths worked for Cartier USA.
In the mid-1990s, Mrs. Natalie Hocq sold the company to her French cousins who brought everything together under the same ownership.
Later we met Mrs. Hocq again in Paris where she had opened a new jewellery store, but we had no further meetings.
The policy of the new French owners did not envisage maintaining the “silver department” (we don’t know why, but the silverware in France ended up with Odiot and Puiforcat) and therefore the whole first floor of the building was dismantled and used for repairs of the building watchmaking.
Mr. William Smith told us that we were no longer their suppliers and therefore we were no longer required to respect the exclusivity, which we have maintained in the USA for fairness.