Rarity, Artistry and History
An Exceptional Ring
The stamp “MADE IN CANADA” on the 18k yellow gold and lapis lazuli ring gave the needed clue for understanding this Cartier ring. At first glance, the exceptional modernist design and the highest craftsmanship is apparent, but why is it stamped Canada?
1969 was an important year in Cartier’s history for a few reasons. In celebration of landing on the moon, Cartier was commissioned to create three Apollo 11 Lunar Module replicas in 18k gold to be presented to the three astronauts on their goodwill visit to Paris. On October 23rd, Cartier purchased a 69.42 carat flawless pear-shaped diamond for a world record price and the very next day sold it to the under bidder, Richard Burton for his wife Elizabeth Taylor. In November, Cartier announced they had hired Aldo Cipullo, who designed the Cartier Love Bracelet that the same year. These newsworthy stories for the iconic house of Cartier have perhaps obscured another extraordinary jewelry story that is ripe to be told.
On October 3rd of 1969, Cartier launched a collection of 200 jewels entitled Astrological, Underwater, and Geometric. The collection was designed by the young Canadian, Roger Lucas, with a two-week exhibition at its flagship boutique. The opening cocktail party, attended by Mr. and Mrs. Wyatt Cooper (Gloria Vanderbilt), Vidal Sassoon and other notable New Yorkers, attracted national press attention.
The already well-established jewelry maison Lucas, founded by his father, Gabriel Lucas who immigrated to Canada from France in 1934, was housed in an elegant but unassuming boutique on the rue Sherbrooke in Montreal, Canada. Roger Lucas grew up around jewelry; seeking independence, he studied in Paris at the Ecole des Arts Decoratifs, raced motorcycles for a few years, and managed the Cartier boutique in Monte Carlo.
“The landing of the astronauts was very inspirational to me. With my love of adventure, I re-lived each moment of their journey and felt compelled to translate it into my world of jewels.”—Roger Lucas
By the late 1960s, Roger returned home to Montreal and designed most of Lucas jewelry. However, he sought a more international presence and found it with Cartier and an invitation to exhibit and tour the world with his creations. The jewels had three main influences: nature (especially underwater) geometry, and space.
Each one-of-a-kind jewel doubles as a miniature sculpture. Lucas stated, “Wear your rings by day, and let them watch over you from your table at night.” This lapis lazuli and 18k gold ring is an exceptional example of artistry. The angled ring shank allows the ring to stand upright or at an angle displaying the three pure lapis lazuli orbs, representing moon, earth, and sun. In 1969, this “Tri-Sphere” ring broke traditions in fine jewelry design.
The rarity of the jewel, the historic occasion of its inspiration, and the luxury house that is associated with it, all contribute to the importance of this Cartier “MADE IN CANADA” ring.