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Last week in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, Cartier unveiled the first-ever High Jewelry exhibition at the UNESCO World Heritage Site at At-Turaif, “Al Thara wa Althuraya.” Presented with the help of the Diriyah Gate Development Authority, guests gathered to inaugurate the show with a celebratory evening on Thursday, where the British Royal Philharmonic Orchestra performed, conducted by Thomas Roussel, and featuring the Saudi Arabian Opera vocalist Sawsan Al Bahaiti.
On view through March 26, the show reflects Cartier’s connection with the region and the inspiration it provides, showing 40 pieces from the Cartier Collection, alongside 200 additional designs. The selection is indicative of the house’s five stylistic oeuvres, including Fauna and Flora, Architecture and Epure, Ludique, Cultural Explorations, and Geometry and Contrast.
“Jacques Cartier first visited the region looking for extraordinary pearls and came back with much more: friendships, memorable moments shared with locals, and great sources of inspiration, which continue to influence the unique creativity evident in our designs,” said Kalid Lanssari, the Managing Director of Cartier, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. “Since our establishment in the Kingdom, we have continuously sought to offer unprecedented experiences while also celebrating several milestones. The legacy of our presence lives on as we proudly present ‘Al Thara wa Althuraya,’ a ground-breaking event for Cartier as the first global brand to exhibit in this historic site and the birthplace of The Kingdom. This collaboration is a true honor and we would look forward to the journey ahead.”
Within the golden stays and glass vitrines of the decadent presentation, viewers will find themselves enamored with the glittering gems spanning more than a century, some of which are being shown for the first time. Highlights include the Scroll tiara, made in 1910 and owned by the Belgian Queen Elisabeth; the 1975 Crocodile necklace designed for María Félix, which features over 1000 yellow diamonds and more than 1000 emeralds; and the 1929 Chimera bracelet, which was the first in this style to be imagined entirely from platinum and gemstones.
“As a global destination for historical and cultural enthusiasts, the Al Thara wa Althuraya exhibition is an ideal complement to what we do and most importantly pays respect to Saudi’s rich and diverse history, an ancient trade and pilgrimage route and a gathering place,” said the CEO of Diriyah Gate Development Authority, Jerry Inzerillo.