An amusing set of three turtle brooches by Cartier, Paris, 1960s

Turtles featured prominently in Cartier's menagerie throughout the decade, interpreted in a variety of brightly coloured stones often in intricate gold corded wire settings.

A trio of gem-set turtle brooches by Cartier, Paris, circa 1967

They quickly became a collector’s item and have re-emerged as a classic design of the period, perhaps as a tribute to its symbolic significance of endurance, long life and perseverance.

Wearing a number of brooches at the same time, even if they were not of  matching design, has a long history, beginning at the end of the 19th century.


The fashion for wearing such jewels led them to be known as ‘scatter brooches’ and it has recently achieved a new momentum, making this versatile set particularly desirable and fun to arrange on the shoulder of a jacket or around the neckline of a dress.


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An advertisement from L'Officiel de la Couture et de la Mode, December 1967, showing the turquoise cabochon turtle


Further details: 
A trio of turtle brooches, the first composed of a turquoise cabochon shell, fins, and head with diamond and sapphire accents; the second with a mother-of-pearl shell, fluted coral and diamond fins and head, supporting a baby turtle of faceted coral and emerald; the third with a lapis lazuli shell, turquoise fins, and diamond and sapphire head, supporting a baby with turquoise cabochon shell and diamond fins; mounted in 18-karat gold and platinum, with French assay marks, in boxes

– Each signed Cartier Paris and numbered

– Each measuring approximately: 2 1/4 x 1 1/2 x 3/4 inches

L’Officiel de la Couture et de la Mode, no. 549, December 1967


For further information on Cartier’s turtle brooches:

A Cartier advertisement showing a charming turtle, circa 1960