The necklace contained seven of the rarest diamonds in the world, and Mr Cartier- certainly no stranger to staggering jewels- described its rarity in almost mythological terms: “Had not our age witnessed an unprecedented succession of world-shaking events, such gems could not have been bought at any price; at no other period in history could such a necklace have come into existence,” he wrote.
How Cartier recreated a 1930s masterpiece for Ocean’s 8
In Ocean’s 8, ex-convict Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) leads a crew of elite, stylish con artists as they engineer an audacious jewel heist at fashion’s biggest night out, the Met Gala. The necklace at the heart of the plot is a dazzler: a Cartier diamond necklace said to be worth $150 million.
The necklace that Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Rihanna and the rest of the Ocean’s crew know as the Toussaint is based on a historic Cartier design and was recreated by the house especially for the film.
In 1931, the Maharaja of Nawanagar commissioned Jacques Cartier to create a staggering display of wealth: two strands of diamonds that meet in an arrangement Mr Cartier called “the finest cascade of coloured diamonds in the world.” At its centre is the Ranjitsinhji diamond- a 136-carat flawless diamond discovered in the same mine as the Cullinan diamond, which forms part of the Crown Jewels.
The necklace appears in portraits of the Maharaja but disappeared after his death in 1933. It is presumed to have been broken up and reset into untraceable designs, much like the necklace in the film.
Artisans in Cartier’s high jewellery workshop in Paris spent eight weeks recreating the necklace based on photographs and sketches, with a few key modifications. They adjusted the scale of the design to make it better suited to Anne Hathaway’s proportions, shrinking it by 15 to 20 per cent (the original having been designed to fit a man). Despite the changes, the final product still weighed some six pounds. They replaced the coloured diamonds with colourless jewels. And don’t tell Debbie Ocean, but those diamonds aren’t really diamonds – they’re natural zirconium oxides set in white gold.
Although the necklace at the centre of the action isn’t real, many of the other jewels featured in key scenes are authentic Cartier designs. The French fine jewellery house served as exclusive jewellery partner on the film, and scenes set at New York’s Cartier Maison were filmed over two days on location at the Central Park South address.
Extras in the Met Gala scene – Kim Kardashian West and Kendall Jenner included – wore Cartier designs for their on-screen moments. Life imitated art at the 2018 Met Gala, when Rihanna (as herself, rather than Ocean’s 8 conspirator Nine Ball) wore Cartier jewels.