María Félix,a Cartier love affair

Over the last few weeks, I have been diving into the magical world of Cartier and discovering their signature collections. Last week I had the change to see and try on, by the way, some of Cartier’s one-of-a-kind creations. We are talking about some serious jewels!

I fell in love with a unique crocodile ring worth over 3 million Danish kroner. I have never tried on anything like it. Until, a few minutes later when I tried on the diamond watch, which takes years to make! By hand!

It is without a doubt a different world. I cannot help but be equally stunned and fascinated by the people that buy this jewellery. This takes us to the story of Maria Felix. A flamboyant Mexican screen legend, a true diva and a fashion icon with an insane collection of Cartier jewels.

“Called the supreme goddess of Spanish language cinema” by The New York Times, Félix made 47 films during her career that began in the 1940s. Her nicknamed La Doña was from the star’s title role in the 1943 film Doña Bárbara, about a strong independent woman.

Félix purposely never learned English and didn’t appear in any Hollywood productions because she didn’t want to be typecast. She did, however, learn French and appeared in a handful of French films.

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Worlds most expensive reptiles

She wore snake jewellery throughout her adult life. Her style became much bolder in the mid-1960s, a period when her main residence was in Paris with her third husband, a Swiss businessman named Alexander Berger. Around 1966 she visited the Cartier flagship on the rue de la Paix and commissioned a snake necklace she wanted to be the size of a large snake.

Maria Felix holding her famous Cartier snake necklace
Maria Felix and her husband Alex Berger
Maria Felix and her husband Alex Berger

The crocodiles

In 1975 Félix commissioned her most exceptional reptile jewel, a double crocodile necklace. The legendary story behind the design is that La Doña whirled into the Cartier flagship in Paris with a live baby crocodile as a source of inspiration.

The famous Cartier crocodiles

Cartier took creative license lighting up the yellow gold crocs with gems. One crocodile is covered in 1.023 brilliant-cut fancy intense yellow diamonds, weighing 60.02 carats in total, two navette-shaped emerald cabochons form the eyes.

The other is covered in 1.060 emeralds, weighing 66.86 carats in total, it has two ruby cabochons eyes.

Each crocodile is fully articulated and may be worn as a brooch. To prevent injury to the neck when worn as a necklace, the inner feet have been replaced with motifs that give the effect of tucked-in feet.

Maria Felix with her jewellery
Maria Felix wearing her crocodiles among other pets
Maria Felix wearing her Cartier Snake earrings
Maria Felix wearing her Cartier Snake earrings at a horse race in Paris in 1972

“They say that pearls make women cry, but the only pearls that make cry are the fake ones!”

— María Félix

A tribute to Maria Felix in V magazine by Mario Testino 

Maria Felix by Mario Testino for V Magazine
Maria Felix by Mario Testino for V Magazine
Maria Felix by Mario Testino for V Magazine