Cartier and the King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) of Siam (Thailand)

Soravij Bhirom Bhakdi presents a one-page essay,
I know - Cartier is not Siamese, nor Thai, but rather French. I have included this section because I have always been interested in the history and designs of the Maison de Cartier. Their associations with the Royal Houses of Europe have been carefully recorded, and their jewellery designs have evolved so many folds to include all sorts of influences, particularly from China, India and Egypt. Their watches are especially of interests to me, notably the Santos and the Pasha, which have interesting stories to go with them. In fact, Cartier and Faberge are the two Jewellery Houses that have been linked to His Majesty King Chulalongkorn (Rama V), who made notable purchases from them. During the King's trip to Europe in 1908, His Majesty visited Cartier in Paris and granted His Royal warrant to be used by Cartier, as seen in the header of a sales slip below. The visit was recorded as follows:

"The interpreter of the King of Siam said that the King wished to see some bracelets, whereupon the sales assistant Jules Glaenzer showed him one tray after another, glittering with precious stones. But the King simply shook his head. Finally Glaenzer went over to the safe and brought out a tray containing the rarest and costliest bracelets. The King gave his interpreter a sign, and the latter turned to Glaenzer, 'His Majesty has chosen this one.'

'Which one?' asked Glaenzer. 'The whole tray,' was the haughty reply.

Thus the King of Siam became the owner of bracelets to the value of $450,000. (Two years later, by way of comparison, the Hope Diamond was sold for $180,000)"

Quoted from "Cartier: Jewelers Extraordinary" by Hans Nadelhoffer, Thames and Hudson, 1984, pages 7-8.


It is quite difficult to find any of the Cartier pieces in the Royal Collection, as the jewels were undoubtedly dispersed to the many descendents of the King. Some of the pieces may still be with these descendents, some may have been sold, and some may still be in the present Royal Collection.
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