Necklace, 1936/1937 Centerpiece by Cartier, New York Sapphires, diamonds, platinum; on view at "Cartier: Marjorie Merriweather Post’s Dazzling Gems" exhibit. (Edward Owen/Courtesy Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens)

The best-known collections of socialite, philanthropist and Post cereal heir Marjorie Merriweather Post were in Russian imperial art and 18th-century French decorative art. But she was also a connoisseur of all things Cartier. Decades of patronage, purchases and commissions with the famed jeweler of Paris, London and New York, made her one of their best customers.

With a number of pieces back in D.C. after a winter Cartier exhibit at the Grand Palais in Paris, the Hillwood Estate is presenting a show featuring her extensive Cartier collection — including famous pieces on loan that she had previously donated to the Museum of Natural History. Here are some figures about “Cartier: Marjorie Merriweather Post’s Dazzling Gems.”


Rank, in importance, of Marjorie Merriweather Post as a customer of Cartier’s New York.


Decades during which Post purchased the latest designs and commissioned pieces from Cartier.


Monarch numeral of the French king Louis, whose queen Marie Antoinette was a source of style inspiration for Post and her contemporaries.


Carats in the Colombian emerald in a 1928 Cartier ring Post wore at her presentation at the Court of James in 1929.


Number of 17th century emeralds, weighing a total of 250 carats, in a brooch she wore and adapted over the years.


Number of baroque-cut emerald drops, each topped with a smaller emerald bead, in a necklace she had shortened. It’s usually on display at the National Museum of Natural History, where she donated it.


Number of frames on display that Post commissioned Cartier to create for family portraits, made of onyx, turquoise, diamonds, gold, enamel and other materials, from 1929 to 1935.


Ashtrays, in jade, agate, gold rubies, sapphires and enamels that were made in 1930 by Cartier, accompanied by a specially made cigarette box and tobacco jar.


Existing diamond and sapphire bracelets, combined by Cartier at Post’s request in 1936, when her husband Joseph E. Davies was appointed ambassador to Moscow.


Length, in months, of the exhibit “Cartier: Marjorie Merriweather Post’s Dazzling Gems” at Hillwood.


Acres on the estate, whose grounds and gardens are a major part of any visit to the Hillwood.


Years the Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens have been open to the public.

Catlin is a freelance writer.

“Cartier: Marjorie Merriweather Post’s Dazzling Gems” continues at the Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens, 4155 Linnean Ave. NW, through Dec. 31. Call 202-686-5807 or visit