It is one of the world’s most coveted brands; loved for its mix of extravagance and elegance. While it has become more accessible over the years, it began as a royal indulgence.
Louis François Cartier founded the Maison in 1847, instantly attracting the aristocracy and rising bourgeoisie. As his reputation spread, the Cartier family became as famous as those they designed for.
Away from France, the decadent Russian monarchs in St.Petersburg became important customers for Cartier, while across the waters in England, the royal court and polo fraternities in Windsor and St. Moritz also became closely associated with the Cartier brand.
Tales of the Past
Sovereigns of the modern era, Hollywood’s film stars were attracted to Cartier’s romantic notions of jewellery. In 1969, Cartier sold Richard Burton the diamond that became known as the Burton/Taylor, a 69.42-carat pear-cut stone given to Liz Taylor as a birthday present. It was the first time a single stone had sold for a million dollars.
Sir Buhpindra Singh, Maharajah of Patiala, commissioned a ceremonial necklace from Cartier. It contained hundreds of diamonds between 18 and 73 carats, set in platinum above one of the world’s most famous stones: a 234.65 carat yellow diamond. It is said to be the largest and most precious necklace ever made.
In October 1947, a 54-50 carat pink diamond was found by a child at the foot of an old baobab tree, in a mine owned by geologist D. Williamson, who gifted it to Princess Elizabeth on her birthday. The year of her coronation, Queen Elizabeth asked Cartier to create a flower-shaped brooch, set with diamonds in the centre and baguettes along the stem. The legendary jewel was later worn by the Queen at the 1981 Prince of Wales’ wedding to Princess Diana.
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The Cartier Legend Continues
Chaumet makes history, one tiara at a time