Though tobacco has been around for thousands of years, consumption underwent a rapid transformation in the early twentieth century; the age of the cigarette had begun. Smoking became so popular that in the mid-1900s, around half of the population of industrialised countries were lighting up, with much higher numbers in some countries like the UK.
Cartier, always setting the tone for elegance and style, embraced the trend and provided the world with a variety of tobacco accoutrements. The unsurpassed craftsmanship, materials, and designs, elevated Cartier lighters beyond their function to coveted status symbols and objects of luxury. Similarly, Cartier cigarette cases became some of the most extravagant accessories and iconic symbols of the era.
Cartier cigarette lighters and cases from the 1930s and 40s were sleek and glamorous, crafted from gold and silver, and often adorned with gems and brightly coloured enamel, showcasing levels of skill and artistry that rivalled even Fabergé.
The firm’s clients included everyone from Edward, Prince of Wales, to Hollywood film stars, and Indian Maharajas. The eternally stylish Jackie Onassis’ favoured gold cigarette lighter created by S.T Dupont, Paris, was auctioned at Sotheby’s in 1996 for an enormous sum, with bidders desperate to acquire such a personal item from the former First Lady.
Whilst smoking is, quite rightly, no longer held in the same regard – the accompanying objects remain eminently collectable works of art, beautiful in their own right.
At Leonard Joel, we are pleased to offer a private collection of Cartier pieces consigned here in Queensland, including a wonderful assortment of gold, silver, and enamel cigarette lighters, to be presented within our Luxury Auction on 5 April.
TROY MCKENZIE / Queensland Representative Specialist
Banner Image: A Collection of Lighters by Cartier (9 of 32) $4,000 – 6,000