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The History of Cartier

The name “Cartier” could be considered synonymous with luxury, beauty, and impeccable design. For over 100 years, Cartier has been one of the most famous jewelers and  brand names to remember. With their high-end jewelry designs and objet’s d’art, the Cartier name has lived on to be known as the best of the best in the world of luxury goods. But, how did this incredible maison come into being? Read on to discover more!


C de Cartier Diamond Link Necklace
This incredible C de Cartier Diamond Necklace is a superb example of the amazing artistry Cartier can attain. Comprised of 30.00 clear white diamond carats,the choker is an outstanding piece from the C de Cartier collection. Timeless and elegant, this piece of rare jewelry is sure to impress anyone who lays eyes upon it.

In Paris of 1847, Louis François Cartier took over the workshop of his master, Adolphe Ricard, despite the tumultuous times of the ongoing French Revolution, and established the firm we now know as Cartier. The first decade of the company’s existence was a great success, and the first Cartier boutique was opened in 1859. Louis’ son, Alfred Cartier , took over the company in 1874, but it was his sons, Louis Cartier, Pierre Cartier, and Jacques Cartier that elevated the brand name as one that was revered worldwide as they opened  Cartier Paris, Cartier New York, and Cartier London respectively.


Louis remained in Paris to continue the growth of Cartier and moved to Rue de la Paix in 1899. The French had a thirst for prosperity, resulting in incredible innovations. some of Cartier’s most revolutionary ideas were established by Louis, such as the use of platinum in jewelry. These innovations earned Cartier the title of, “Jeweler of the Kings, King of Jewelers,” just before the turn of the century. King Edward VII was an avid fan of the firm during this time, as well as many other celebrated individuals. His wife, Wallis Simpson, was also an avid fan of the brand and became very close to Jeanne Toussaint. Jeanne Toussaint was the company's Director of Fine Jewelry and was responsible for one of the company's signature pieces, the panther design.

Louis Cartier was also responsible for the innovative and admired mystery clocks. In 1912, Model A was created as a standard-shaped mantel clock with one intriguing characteristic: the clock appeared to be made entirely of rock crystal with no indication of a dial connected to a mechanical movement, causing the hands of the clock to appear to be functioning as if by magic.

Cartier Prism Mystery Clock

This beautiful Cartier Prism Mystery Clock currently available for purchase from M.S. Rau demonstrates the incredible mechanism described above. Coupling classicism and modernism, this prism clock is an exceptional demonstration of complex engineering and stylish artistry. The dial is concealed at the base of the clock and may only be viewed through the glass paneling from a certain angle. With its sleek art deco design and lapis lazuli accents, this prism mystery clock would be an incredible addition to any mantel or desk. Explore our collection of antique clocks for sale.


Cartier’s innovation did not stop there. The firm can be considered responsible for popularizing the wristwatch with its one-of-a-kind designs. A very well-known Cartier watch is the Cartier Santos, which was named after aviation pioneer Alberto Santos Dumont. In 1904, Brazilian pioneer aviator, Alberto Santos-Dumont, expressed to his close friend, Louis Cartier, his need for a more accessible and reliable form of telling the time. The use of pocket watches during a flight was impractical for Santos-Dumont, and thus a flat wristwatch with a distinctive square bezel was designed for him by Cartier. The “Santos” wristwatch was Cartier’s first men’s wristwatch and attracted the attention of many other customers from around the world.


Diamond Bezel Dual Time Tonneau Wristwatch by Cartier

This incredible Diamond Bezel Dual Time Tonneau Wristwatch by Cartier couples luxury with functionality and encompasses the timeless artistry of Cartier’s legacy. Featuring an 18K yellow gold tonneau case, this wrist watch has dual watch faces that can be set to read two different time zones. The bezel and crown of the wrist watch is emblazoned with shimmering diamonds, heightening the opulence and beauty of Cartier’s design. The original forest green crocodile strap can be changed out with three additional bands in black, brown, and red.


With the established New York branch by Pierre Cartier in 1909, the Cartier firm was not only revered for their jewelry designs but also quickly became one of the most well-known brand names for watches in the world. In 1917, the New York Cartier branch purchased the Neo-Renaissance mansion of Morton Freeman Plant on 653 5th Avenue in exchange for $100 in cash and a double-stranded natural pearl necklace.


Many Cartier designs have been made famous over the years, including the Cartier Trinity Ring. This famous “three ring” became popular during the Art Deco craze and was designed by a good friend of Louis Cartier, John Cocteau. Supposedly representing friendship, fidelity, and love, the three-stoned design made popular by Cartier became a must-have for any jewelry collector.


Cartier Fancy Vivid Yellow Diamond Ring

This absolutely incredible Trinity ring, featuring a fancy vivid yellow diamond flanked by two exceptional white diamonds, is currently available at M.S. Rau. Encapsulating Cartier’s desire to place beauty at the foundation of their creations, this ring is everything you’ve dreamed of and more.


Becoming what may be considered the finest jewelry house in the world, the Cartier brand has not stopped producing incredible and unique designs sported by some of the most well-known celebrities and aristocrats, such as Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Princess Diana, Prince Edward VII, Andy Warhol, among many others. Because of their association with this brand, a piece of Cartier jewelry can be regarded as a status symbol. Important pieces and collections can be acquired such as the Tutti Frutti designs, Cartier panthers, and love and charm bracelets. One of the most coveted romantic gifts would have to be the Cartier Love Bracelet. Designed by Aldo Cipullo, the Cartier Love Bracelet represents much more than an ensemble of precious metals and gemstones–it marks eternal love. That being said, the innovation of the firm is endless!


Cartier 18K Gold Charm Bracelet

This 18K Gold Charm Bracelet by Cartier represents some of the most iconic and respected images associated with the firm. Including the “C de Cartier” double C icon, Cartier panther icon, and a “Cartier Tank” watch face, this charm bracelet with its trace link chain design is representative of Cartier’s original and celebrated designs, use of some of the most famous gemstones, and their  never-ceasing innovation.


Cartier is still today one of the household names in high-end jewelry and watch design with no indication of slowing down their creations. Please visit our website to shop our amazing Cartier collection.


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