Epic Diamonds

An Exclusive Look at the “Cartier and Islamic Art” Exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art

The exhibit features more than 400 historic items and exceptional diamond jewelry.

Five years in the making and working across two continents, the Dallas Museum of Art officially opens the doors for the Cartier and Islamic Art: In Search of Modernity exhibit Saturday, May 14th. Originally conceived for this space to showcase the world-famous Keir collection alongside pieces from Louis Cartier’s collection of Islamic art, the exhibition features over 400 objects. From glittering diamond diadems, and rock crystal flasks, to what is known as a Bazuband, or upper arm bracelet, there is the display of a whole world of design. This last piece features Cartier’s famous art of transformation and can be worn as a bracelet, earring, or tiara. 

Read More: How a Historic Cartier Diamond Necklace was Reimagined to Star in ‘Ocean’s 8’

Inside the Cartier and Islamic Art Exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art

Cartier and Islamic Art dallas museum of art diamonds
Tiara, 1905, Cartier Paris, special order,  Platinum and diamonds, Cartier collection, Photo by Vincenzo Dimino

Many of these extraordinary pieces have been separated for over 80 years and the curators alongside Cartier worked diligently to gather them with Islamic art from private institutions, collections, and museums around the world.  Louis Cartier found inspiration everywhere and was an early collector of Islamic art. He saw the possibility for inspiration and shared his collection both with his design team and had an eye for sharing with the public. The Dallas Museum of Art seeks to create the same global conversation in the launch of this exhibit to reflect the diversity of the DMA collection and Dallas as a community. Cartier never curates their exhibitions and has given the DMA total freedom to develop a conversation that is meaningful to the institution.

Cartier and Islamic Art dallas museum of art diamonds
Brooch-pendant, 1909. Cartier Paris, special order, Platinum and diamonds, Formerly in Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt’s collection, Photo by Vincenzo Dimino
Cartier and Islamic Art dallas museum of art diamonds
Necklace with detachable “palmettes” clip brooches, 1958, Cartier Paris,  Gold and diamonds, Cartier collection, Photo by Vincenzo Dimino

The Dallas Museum of Art commissioned architect Elizbeth Diller of Diller Scofidio + Renfro to create a space that allowed for exploration that didn’t overexplain or seek to teach.  “The design strategies in this exhibition-motif, pattern, color, and form-reveal the inspirations, innovations, and aesthetic wonder present in the creations of the Maison Cartier. Focused through the lens of Islamic art, the designs reveal how the Maison migrates and manifests these styles over time, and how they are shaped by individual creativity,” says Sarah Schleuning, senior curator of Decorative arts and design at the DMA. 

Cartier and Islamic Art dallas museum of art diamonds
Snake necklace, 1911. Cartier Paris, Platinum and diamonds, Cartier Collection, Photo by Vincenzo Dimino

“Jewelry is supposed to move on the body… I hope that people will be inspired by that alchemy.”  Through videos and moving installations of glittering diamonds, it would seem there is no doubt of that success.

The exhibit is only to the public through September 18, 2022, and you won’t want to miss it.