There are a select few necklaces that might be deemed jewelry royalty-Marie Louise’s diamonds from Napoleon (the first “push present”?), the Maharajah of Patiala’s bib, Daisy Fellowes’s Tutti Frutti, the Duchess of Windsor’s Zip, and of course, the one made by Cartier in 1975 to resemble two fully articulated crocodiles-and using 1,023 yellow diamonds, 1,060 emeralds, and two cabochon rubies-for Mexican actress María Félix.
Félix’s necklace was based on her own pet croc-she even brought it into the store to make sure Cartier got it just right. She even suggested they live there for a while, just in case. Only one person other than María Félix has ever worn that necklace, now owned by the Cartier Collection (Félix sold most of her jewelry right before she died).
In 2006, actress Monica Bellucci paired the necklace with a crisp white shirt for the red carpet at Cannes.
Over the weekend, on that same red carpet, Bellucci wore Cartier’s one of a kind diamond and emerald necklace made in tribute to the iconic piece and created by the same artisanal sculptor who brought María Félix’s little pets to life.
The María Félix Tribute necklace is in all diamonds and emeralds (part of a stash of 14 rare specimens from Colombia) totaling 46.45 carats, and is by all reports “strikingly realistic with a body and legs ready to move!”
The crocodile necklace is of course but one proud member of the Cartier menagerie. The Panther, brought to three dimensional life in 1948 for the Duchess of Windsor, being the most iconic. To make sure those diamond and onyx figures looked ready to pounce, legendary Cartier jewelry Director Jeanne Toussaint made all her designers spend quality time at the Paris zoo.