Gold Pendant In The Form Of Dizzy Gillespie’s Iconic Jazz ‘Bent’ Trumpet

A gold pendant in the form of jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie’s iconic ‘bent’ trumpet by Cartier c.1960s, the pendant realistically modelled in 18ct yellow gold and featuring the bell of the trumpet turned upwards at a 45 degree angle, originally the result of an accident, this became an enduring design of Gillespie’s trumpets after he decided he liked the tone the bent tubing gave his playing, the pendant has a large oval bale and is suspended from an 18ct yellow gold chain.


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SKU: 125299 Categories: ,


Condition ReportVery fine
Setting18ct yellow gold signed Cartier Paris
Weight description24.8 grams
Dimensions6.3cm/ 2.5" long 3.7cm/ 1.45" wide

Directors Notes

This wonderful pendant is in the form of jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie’s iconic ’bent’ trumpet. Originally the result of an accident when someone fell on his trumpet and bent it, Dizzy found he loved the tone that the bend gave his playing and so he commissioned his instrument makers to create trumpets for him with a 45 degree upturn to the bell. This also helped the sound travel up and over the heads of his audience to fill the clubs he played in. This unique shape and the tone it created became synonymous with Dizzy, a trumpet virtuoso and one of the greatest jazz musicians of all time. This piece was almost certainly a private commission and would make a wonderful pendant for any jazz lover. Dizzy donated one of his trumpets to the Smithsonian Museum which remains on display today.

Literature & Exhibitions

“Bent” trumpet was the trademark trumpet of Dizzy Gillespie. It featured a bell which bent upward at a 45-degree angle rather than pointing straight ahead as in the conventional design. According to Gillespie’s autobiography, this was originally the result of accidental damage caused by the dancers Stump and Stumpy falling onto it while it was on a trumpet stand on stage at Snookie’s in Manhattan on January 6, 1953, during a birthday party for Gillespie’s wife Lorraine. The constriction caused by the bending altered the tone of the instrument, and Gillespie liked the effect. He had the trumpet straightened out the next day, but he could not forget the tone. Gillespie sent a request to Martin Committee to make him a “bent” trumpet from a sketch produced by Lorraine, and from that time forward Gillespie played a trumpet with an upturned bell.
Whatever the origins of Gillespie’s upswept trumpet, by June 1954, he was using a professionally manufactured horn of this design, and it was to become a visual trademark for him for the rest of his life. Such trumpets were made for him by Martin Committee (from 1954), King Musical Instruments (from 1972) and Renold Schilke (from 1982, a gift from Jon Faddis). Gillespie favored mouthpieces made by Al Cass. In December 1986 Gillespie gave the National Museum of American History his 1972 King “Silver Flair” trumpet with a Cass mouthpiece. In April 1995, Gillespie’s Martin trumpet was auctioned at Christie’s in New York City, along with instruments used by other famous musicians such as Coleman Hawkins, Jimi Hendrix and Elvis Presley. An image of Gillespie’s trumpet was selected for the cover of the auction program. The battered instrument sold to Manhattan builder Jeffery Brown for $63,000, the proceeds benefiting jazz musicians suffering from cancer.


When Louis-François Cartier (1819-1904) opened his small jewellery store in Paris in 1847, he couldn’t have imagined that 170 years later his name would be synonymous worldwide with some of the finest jewellery ever created.  

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