Just in time for the holidays, Cartier celebrates 100 years in America with an extensively sparkly exhibit. San Francisco's Legion of Honor is hosting an exclusive exhibit through April 18. The collection houses more than 200 objects, starting with the Belle Époque through to the 1960s and '70s; jewelry of the gilded age and art-deco period surround platinum-set diamond tiaras, mystery clocks, and exotic creatures. The real stunners are the royal pieces worn by high society and Hollywood legends; an exotic flamingo brooch made for the Duchess of Windsor, diamond bangles worn by screen legend Gloria Swanson, and — my favorite — Princess Grace of Monaco's Cartier engagement jewelry (pictured). There's no denying Cartier's pukka power. Here's to another 100 years of diamonds, rubies, and emeralds.
Honestly, I didn't see what the big deal was about Grace Kelly when I first saw a picture of her. Then, I went through my Hitchcock phase and understood the filmmaker's fascination with icy blondes. But I still wasn't convinced. Just recently I've been seeing her face everywhere — last month was the 25th anniversary of Grace's death. I have seen the light: she is a great beauty.
Grace came from a wealthy Philadelphia family. The third of four children, she knew early on in life she was beautiful and talented, so she fled the East Coast to be an actress in Hollywood. Soon, this Scorpio was the talk of the town and she eventually won an Oscar for her role in The Country Girl in 1954. That is Grace Kelly Chapter One.
At the Cannes Film Festival in 1955 she met her prince — Prince Rainier of Monaco. The attraction was immediate and he whisked her away to a life of luxury, family, and foreign territory. Grace didn't act in Chapter Two; she fulfilled her duties as wife, mother, and princess. The latter was a challenge; she was viewed as an outsider by the Monegasques. She tried her best to appease the people and from what I see, she did it with absolute grace.
Grace is a Fabcon because of her undeniable American elegance, her spirit, and the fact that Hermes named one of the world's most covetable handbags after her. If you have been as entranced by this unique blonde as I have, be sure to check out her gallery below — my tribute to the late princess.
To see Princess Grace through the ages, read more