The influence of Islamic Art on Cartier's creations: a noble encounter

studies of islamic patterns
I recently had the chance to visit the Paris exhibition, "Cartier and the Arts of Islam. To the sources of modernity," and was pleasantly surprised.
This exhibition reveals the influences of Islamic Art on the production of jewellery and precious objects of the House of Cartier, from the beginning of the 20th century to the present day. More than 500 pieces - jewellery and creations from Cartier, masterpieces of Islamic art, drawings, books, photographs and archival documents - trace the origin of Cartier's interest in Oriental motifs.

A little bit of History...

Louis Cartier, grandson of the founder, and his team found an endless source of inspiration in the wave of Oriental art and began creating without taboos. “The relationship nurtured by European artistic creation with the arts of Islam is a subject that is both eminently political and richly aesthetic", says Olivier Gabet, director of the MAD museum. "It is not anecdotal: it has been the case since the diplomatic alliances between France and the Ottoman Empire in the sixteenth century, spanning over the colonial and imperialist conquests of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.”

At the beginning of the 20th century, the studies of Islamic art and its forms, geometry and chromatic harmonies have allowed Cartier to constitute a rich repertoire. The House of Cartier was able to integrate a particular artistic expression into its jewellery creations.

The talent of Cartier's craftsmen, designers, jewellers and artistic directors is to have been able to incorporate and harmonize the elements of Islamic art into their creations by drawing on this gold mine of information made available to them.

influence et rencontre: l'art arabe et les bijoux

First image: diamond necklace by Cartier and the colours of the Levant

Second image: the door of the Gour Emir mosque, in Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Third image: diamond and gold necklace by Cartier, inspired by the shape of the Islamic star-polygon


Throughout the exhibition, we discover the juxtapositions and encounters between elements of oriental architecture and the cutting and mounting of cabochons and precious stones. One marvels at the richness of the colours reinterpreted by the House of Cartier, strongly inspired by the Iranian world: the blue of sapphires and the green of emeralds or jade called "peacock decor" that join the blue of Iranian turquoise, associated with the deep blue and glittering lapis lazuli from Afghanistan.

The Levant: a realm of dreams for European creators

The various motifs of Arab inspiration are widely represented in the exhibition. We rediscover the symbolic meaning of the fleurons, rosettes, geometric compositions, mandorles, palmettes, scrolls, sequins, waves, scales, a whole repertoire that speaks to me and seduces me.


inspiration motifs arabes et bijoux cartier
*First image: A stepped pyramid, that we can find in Palmyra in Syria and in Persepolis in Iran
Second image: Art-deco diamond bracelets by Cartier that echoes the shape of the stepped pyramid

The link with [beyt]

While visiting this exhibition, I felt obviously motivated and inspired. After all, that's what [beyt] tries to do: bring a little piece of the Arab culture into your home, reinventing it to bring it up to date.

[beyt]'s latest collection of "Fabrics on a Voyage" is an illustration of this: using wooden stamps, directly inspired by Islamic art, and reinterpreting them freely on linen and cotton. Each stamp tells a story: the vegetal motif symbolizes paradise, peace and divine grace; the geometric shapes reflect the providential balance of the cosmos and the intrinsic harmony of creation...

influences de l'art de l'Islam sur l'art de la table 

For example, you can find on our tablecloths delicate patterns of palmettes and rosettes or networks of polygons of stars.

If the Levant can speak to our hearts, it can also be a source of tension. The success of this exhibition proves the contrary. It shows how the audacity of pioneers who knew how to combine several art forms to create unique and remarkable collections can reconcile differences across borders.


Let's continue to be purveyors of beauty, wherever we are. Beauty has no ethnicity, it is universal, and it can be the link that brings us together.


"After all, that's what [beyt] is trying to do: bring a little piece of the Arab culture into your home, reinventing it to bring it up to date."


Our Selection 💫

nappe en lin imprimée à la main au bloc

Linen tablecloth "The Black Star" with its assorted napkins