From a humble workshop in Paris to a global empire, Cartier has come along way since it’s creation by Louis-François Cartier in 1847. Today, Cartier is widely known as a symbol of French savoir-faire and Parisian luxury.
If you’re curious to learn more about the coveted brand, keep reading for our top 8 interesting facts about Cartier.
First To Successfully Use Platinum in Jewelry
In the 19th century, platinum was incredibly expensive and exceedingly difficult to work with, so only royalty was known to use the material. Popularly, British royalty’s cutlery and watch-chains were made from platinum. However, in 1847 Alfred Cartier experimented with platinum and became the first to use the brilliant metal in his jewellery.
Cartier incorporated it into his “Garland Style” pieces to amplify the brilliance of diamonds.
Cartier Popularized Men’s Wristwatches
In the past, wealthy men carried around pocket watches, but wristwatches were only known to be worn by women. However, when Alfred Cartier’s friend and aviator complained about recording time during flight, Cartier was inspired to offer a more practical means of telling time with an elegant men’s wristwatch. So, in 1904, Cartier debuted the first men’s wristwatch and named it after the aviator. The ‘Santos’ watch immediately took off thanks to Santos-Dumont’s fame and aeronautic achievements.
The elegant design of the Santos’ chronograph was also influenced by a square pocket watch Cartier had produced. However but the highly legible dial design telegraphs shift to Art Deco style that would define the 1920s and 1930s, and still continues to define Cartier’s design aesthetic to this day.
Cartier, the “Jeweler of Kings and King of Jewelers.”
Cartier’s celebrity client list included an impressive number of royals and aristocrats so much so that King Edward VII of England dubbed Louis Cartier the “Jeweller of Kings and King of Jewellers.”
But Louis Cartier’s list of customers is not only limited British royals and aristocrats. He worked for Napoleon I’niece and Napoleon III’s wife, Empress Eugenie. He also sold masterpieces to the royal families of Spain, Greece, Portugal, Siam, Serbia, Egypt and Albania.
The popular Cartier Crash watch comes from strange inspiration. After a car accident, the owner of a Cartier watch brought it back to the store, hoping to get it repaired.
However, Jean-Jacques Cartier saw it and had a flash of genius. He decided to recreate this crooked design. He reached his aim in 1967 and started to sell this watch in limited edition. It fast became a huge success and to this day, the Cartier Crash is still known as a symbol of the company and is highly coveted at auctions.
Inspired By . . . Chastity Belts?
The Love Bracelet is one of the most well-known Cartier pieces – but the design has an equally interesting inspiration behind it. That’s right, this masterpiece created in 1969 is thought to be inspired by the Middle-Age chastity belts that could only be unlocked by the husband, to prevent the woman from having sex or being raped. Curiously enough, Cartier drew inspiration from chastity belts, focusing on the symbolism of devotion and fidelity. The Love Bracelet design features a solid cuff with screws and a lock mechanism, so it remains secure around your lover’s wrist. The bracelet comes with a screwdriver which is meant to be kept by your significant other so only they can open it.
New York City Hospitals Stock Love Screw Drivers
The iconic Cartier Love Bracelet became so popular that hospitals in New York actually had to keep Love Screwdrivers handy in their wards so that they can remove them from patients’ wrists during an emergency.
In 1914, Pierre Cartier was planning to move out of the ‘commercialised’ neighbourhood and into New York’s upper society of 5th Avenue and 52nd Street. So, when the betrothed of millionaire, Morton Plant caught her eye on a beautiful double-strand of natural pearls by Cartier, a barter was in order. Both of them agreed, Plant’s six stories building in exchange of Cartier’s pearl necklace along with a $100 payment to Cartier.
But even though natural pearls fetch a king’s ransom at auction nowadays, this was not the case in the 1950s, when, upon Mrs Maisie Plant’s death, the famous pearl necklace sold for a measly $150,000. As for the Cartier mansion, it recently underwent a lavish renovation — complete with a restored Maisie Plant salon on the ground floor — and is said to be worth billions.
Most Expensive Burmese Ruby In The World
The ‘Sunrise’ Burmese ruby of 25.59 carats adorned with diamonds and mounted in a ring by Maison Cartier, holds the world record for a Burmese ruby. In May 2015, it was put on auction with a winning bid of $30,335,698! The gem is now known as the most expensive ruby, the most expensive coloured gemstone AND the most expensive non-diamond gemstone in the world!
Whether you’re already a Cartier fanatic or looking to purchase your first Cartier items, you can get your hands on stunning luxury pieces at Luxity! Shop pre-owned and authentic Carter watches, sunglasses, jewellery, handbags and more!