People recognize today that the cat was a revered and worshiped beast of the ancient Egyptians. Remarkable gorgeous cat themed jewelry made of amber, lapis lazuli, malachite, and many other stones were set in gold and silver and adorned the wrists and necklines of many ancient Egyptians. The precious stones and gold were worn by the Egyptian royalty, but that didn’t stop the lower classes from fashioning their own jewelry from faience, a ceramic material made to look like precious stones – ancient day costume jewelry. Though Egyptians were not the first to design and wear cat themed jewelry, they have set the bar for all cat loving cultures.
In the many thousands of years since cat themed jewelry continues to be a favorite among designers and cultures from the Americas to Greece and Japan have taken up the love. Though much too fine for my pocketbook, the famous Cartier Panther is one of the most well-known cat themed jewelry collections. The stunning panther was introduced as a cuff bracelet of diamonds and onyx with emerald eyes. The theme has withstood over 100 years and is seen in rings, brooches, watches, and cuffs.
The most notable item of the Cartier panther motif is the brooch due to its commissioned history. The first panther brooch was designed for Wallis Simpson, the American socialite turned Duchess of Windsor. She marriage to King Edward VIII which cause him to abdicate the throne to his brother and he became the Duke of Windsor. The Cartier Panther brooch of inlaid white diamonds, onyx, and emeralds was first commissioned to adorn Her Grace, the Duchess of Windsor in 1940.
Since then, the brooch has continued in limited production and an official panther theme was later introduced by the Parisian fine jewelry designer. The Cartier panther is, by no means, the only design available and several other jewelers have created their own cat themed jewelry. Replicas of the Cartier panther are also available and found in costume jewelry if your taste leans toward Champagne, but your budget is firmly set in beer.