Recently, a long standing client of ours brought in her Cartier watch pendant necklace. The watch is an important period piece, where each element was meticulously handcrafted many years ago in Paris by Cartier’s jewelers. The original clasp offered by Cartier at that time was a platinum spring ring. The spring clasp was of good quality years ago, however, our client could not trust the security of the clasp or manipulate the small ring system.
As a designer, the challenge leans to me to create a solution for my clients needs, while keeping true to the style of an original Cartier treasure. The type of clasp easiest for my client is a plunger style, which is a relatively modern system. Rather than design a completely new element to work with the existing style, I choose the most conservative approach by designing a clasp that blends with the remainder of the necklace.
I designed and created the component for the clasp completely in our 3D design software. When I was satisfied with the model, I create it with our rapid prototype 3D printer. This technology not only creates the part needed but is very efficient for manufacturing on many levels. The wax model is cast in platinum using the lost wax method; a method dating back to the Egyptians. Our jewelers clean, finish, set diamonds and add all the smallest details to mirror all the nuances originally created by Cartier.
I like to think that if the original Cartier craftsman was instructed to create a plunger style clasp for this necklace, they would have made a very similar design choice. This pendant necklace was a perfect example of blending expertise with old and new technology.