Cartier: Art in Jewelry
Cartier sells the most beautiful things in the world. Although few people can afford to buy Cartier jewelry or watches, to simply behold the beauty of these creations holds a fascination for many. Cartier jewelry evokes pleasure for people.
Cartier is sold through its 200 boutiques, located in 125 countries. The headquarters has always been in Paris. Cartier is known as: "The Jeweler to Kings; the King of the Jewelers."
Cartier is the top name in the world for exquisite jewelry. Cartier watches, engagement rings, bracelets, glasses, and cigarette lighters are among the favorite possessions of the well-to-do.
Cartier has received royal warrants to supply royal jewels—including crowns—to England, Spain, Portugal, Russia, Siam (Thailand), Greece, Serbia, Belgium, Romania, Egypt, Albania, and Monaco.
Cartier creates art in jewelry. The company has an interesting history, which dates back to 1847. There is no name in the world that carries the same panache as Cartier.
A Brief History of Cartier
Cartier was founded in 1847 by a Paris jeweler—Louis-Francois Cartier (1819-1904). His son Alfred Cartier (1841-1925) took over the firm in 1874. And Alfred's three sons—Louis, Pierre, and Jacques—are the men who made Cartier a world famous name in jewelry and watches.
Louis Cartier remained in Paris to run the company. He became the designer who created the Cartier style we know today—Art Deco; ornate but simple. Jacques Cartier opened and managed the store in London; while Pierre Cartier did the same in New York.
Louis Cartier was perhaps the first jeweler to use platinum. He was an extremely rare combination: a gifted artist and a shrewd businessman.
Cartier moved into its current headquarters in Paris in 1899. It opened the London store in 1902, and the New York store in 1909. These three cities continue to host the flagship stores of Cartier.
The Cartier family of jewelers relinquished control of the business after Pierre died in 1964. He was preceded in death by his brothers, Louis and Jacques, both of whom passed on in 1942.
Cartier created the first ladies bracelet watch in 1888. In 1904, Cartier created the first men's wrist watch—the "Santos."
The company achieved further fame in 1912 with the introduction of the "mystery clock." This is a clock with no obvious connection between the hands and the mechanism.
In 1913, Cartier unveiled the famed Bagnoire design of ladies watches, which are still produced today. They are of a soft and feminine design; meant to mark the peaceful passing of time.
That same year, the Cartier Tortue watch for ladies debuted. It is a more sensual style. A version for men came out in 1928. These original designs by Louis Cartier are still in great demand today.
Perhaps the most successful of the Cartier watches is the "Tank." The Cartier Tank appeared on the stage in 1917, named in honor of allied tank commanders fighting World War One. The proportions, lines, and colors are meant to represent the Peugeot tanks used by France in that conflict.
The Baguette Watch was created in 1926. This is a bejeweled miniature watch, known for its "baguette" cut—a narrow rectangle with a flat top.
In 1895, the Cartier Oval Solitaire engagement ring was unveiled. This has remained a staple in the Cartier lineup and has been copied by every jeweler on the planet since.
Cartier sold the "Blue" Hope Diamond to an American socialite in 1910. The Hope Diamond was long thought to be cursed. Its history can be definitely traced back to 17th Century France. Today, it is housed at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.
The Cartier Trinity Ring and Trinity Bracelet came on the scene in 1924. They are named "trinity" for the three colors of gold used in their design.
In the 1920s, Cartier produced an exotic style of jewelry called "Tutti Frutti." These pieces of art featured gemstones from India—rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and diamonds—arranged in flamboyant splendor, which satisfied a certain fascination with the East prevalent at that time.
In 1955, Cartier designed a coral necklace for Maria Felix. It is made from carved coral set in platinum with emerald, onyx and white coral beads.
Popular Cartier Items Today
Among popular products produced by Cartier are the Cartier Astro Love Ring, which opens up into a globe.
The Cartier India Ring features engraved onyx surrounded by diamonds.
The Cartier Panther Ring is a tribute to the wild nature and beauty of that animal.
Cartier Charm Bracelet: mounted in platinum and 18K white gold, the 11 charms include diamonds, emeralds, rubies and sapphires.
Men's Cartier Diamond Rings are prized for their hand crafted perfection.
Cartier leather bracelets, made with brown or black leather and titanium steel.
Cartier pink Sapphire and Diamond bracelets are particularly beautiful and highly sought after.
Cartier Diamond Platinum Bracelets, oft times have a total diamond weight of 10 cts.
Cartier ladies gold watches with diamonds, which sometimes feature as many as 71 diamonds set in yellow gold.
Cartier Asscher Rings, has the distinctive asscher cut, a square similar to an emerald cut.
Cartier Pasha ladies watches have proven to be quite popular over the years.
No doubt, watches are the main focus of Cartier, with jewelry a close second. Everything Cartier does, it does well.
In the 1980s, Cartier began to market accessories, e.g., cigarette lighters, pens, wallets, cuff links, key rings, eye glasses, sunglasses, scarves, desk items, and perfumes—elegant things at modest prices. This astute move brought products with the famous Cartier brand name within the reach of middle class consumers for the first time.