Jean Cocteau - Metamorphosis

Exhibited from November 10, 2018, through March 10, 2019

Pieces from the Cartier Collection were on display at the Design Museum Den Bosch for the first ever major retrospective on Jean Cocteau to take place in the Netherlands.

Jean Cocteau - Metamorphosis shed light on the many facets of ‘The Frivolous Prince’, a central figure of the avant-garde. Writer, poet, playwright and filmmaker, Cocteau was a pioneer of the multidisciplinary approach to creativity, trying his hand at designing jewelry among other objects. The Cartier Collection lent the remarkable academician’s sword he received upon his induction into the Académie Française in 1955. Created by Cartier and based on a drawing by Cocteau, it consists of symbols that the poet held very dear. Orpheus’ profile forms the handguard, his lyre makes up the pommel, and the six-pointed star, Cocteau’s trademark signature, decorates the crossguard. The same imagery can be found in an unpublished sketchbook of his, most likely dating back to a trip he made to New York in 1949. Further evidence of the link between Jean Cocteau and Cartier on display was the Trinity ring. He liked to wear two of them on his little finger and played an important part in the Trinity ring’s popularity in Paris at the time.

Jean Cocteau - Metamorphosis
Academicians sword

Academician’s sword made for Jean Cocteau

Cartier Paris, 1955


Gold, silver
Emerald, rubies, diamond
Blue enamel
Steel blade


Nick Welsh, Cartier Collection © Cartier