It's 1975, Paris. Mexican movie star, María Félix walks into the Cartier flagship store to commission a chunky, double crocodile necklace of gold and emeralds from the jeweler. Carried on her person is a live baby crocodile which she insists be replicated and referenced to a T! “I want a jewel like him, but hurry! He grows fast!”
The piece itself is credited as the creation of designer Gabriel Raton. The two gold crocodiles are covered in 1,023 brilliant-cut yellow diamonds weighing 60.02 carats and the other is covered in 1,060 emeralds weighing 66.86-carats.
This masterpiece was added to María's collection after already having a customized diamond snake necklace (pictured above), and a set of gold snake hoop earrings created by Cartier.
Who is this woman of such bold tastes? The striking María Félix was a woman of her own convictions, and extravagance. Dubbed, “The supreme goddess of Spanish language cinema” by The New York Times, María chose to never learn English because she didn't want to be typecast in Hollywood. She has appeared in French cinema, and was a muse to the painter, Diego Rivera (husband of Frida Kahlo), and Nobel Prize-winning poet Octavio Paz.
María was a force of nature and infinitely quotable. Her nickname, 'La Doña' came from her title role in the 1943 film, 'Doña Bárbara', in which she played an iconic, independant woman. A quick search of her on the Internets will produce many quotes, mostly in Spanish. The one's I was able to glean are mostly about men and relationships. She was married 4 times after all!
"I cannot complain about men. I have had tons of them and they have treated me fabulously well. But sometimes I have had to hurt them to keep them from subjugating me."
"Money is not happiness, but it is better to cry in a Ferrari"
"I have got just one message for the women of my country and of the world : I wish they loved themselves as I love myself."
"An ex is not worth more than a few days of tears."
Cartier has also issued a new set of high-end jewelry inspired by her original commissions.