news — December 1, 2019 at 4:30 am

Cartier’s secrets told by an heir to the historic family of French jewelers





Do you want to make a gift? You can choose Cartier. And you don’t need to have a big budget, you need just $ 31.50 (and an account on Amazon). Of course, at that price you can’t buy a jewel, even if the book that tells the story of the Cartier family, so far little known, is in its own way. In short, a literary jewel for jewelry lovers. Moreover, writing the book, which is in English and is called The Cartiers: The Untold Story of the Family, is a descendant of the dynasty of the great French jewelers, Francesca Cartier Brickell.

I tre fratelli Cartier con il padre nel 1922. Da sinistra, Pierre, Louis, Alfred e Jacques Cartier. Credit: Archivi della famiglia Cartier
I tre fratelli Cartier con il padre nel 1922. Da sinistra, Pierre, Louis, Alfred e Jacques Cartier. Credit: Archivi della famiglia Cartier

Now Cartier is part of the Swiss group Richemont, which reports to the South African entrepreneur Johann Peter Rupert. But the Cartier family has maintained the business for four generations. The birth of the book also has a romantic aspect: the author tells that she was not particularly interested in the history of the family until she found a packet of letters in her grandfather’s cellar. Then, family stories sparked curiosity.

he Cartiers: The Untold Story of the Family Behind the Jewelry Empire
he Cartiers: The Untold Story of the Family Behind the Jewelry Empire

As always happens, before wealth there is poverty. The history of the Cartier family is no exception: the grandfather of Francesca Cartier Brickell’s grandfather, Louis-François Cartier, was part of the working class before founding the company that still bears his name. It was 1847. As a craftsman, the first Cartier became a shop owner capable of attracting customers and becoming a reference point for jewelery, through revolutions and wars. Merit also and above all of the ability of the Cartiers in interpreting the tastes of the Parisians, but also of the care for the invoice of the jewels and the ability in identifying false stones and earning a license of honesty: a not secondary aspect for a jewelry of the epoch , without the technical means of the current ones.

Braccialetto in corallo e diamanti, Cartier, 1933
Braccialetto in corallo e diamanti, Cartier, 1933

In addition, the Cartier Maison has been able to introduce cutting-edge design for that time, and has sensed the power of public relations and marketing in advance. In advance of the times they had established what is now defined as customer relationship management. An example: besides the personalized cards of the various customers, Cartier had also introduced those for the recipients, with measures, tastes, idiosyncrasies. And of course, so much discretion. Over the years the Cartiers in Paris have become an institution and have woven friendship and relationships (even marriages) with other important families, primarily those of jewelery, such as the Fabergé and Van Cleef et Arpels.

Spilla Devant de Corsage di Cartier, 1912. Comprende un diamante a taglio pera da 34,08 carati, e un diamante ovale da 23,55 carati
Spilla Devant de Corsage di Cartier, 1912. Comprende un diamante a taglio pera da 34,08 carati, e un diamante ovale da 23,55 carati

Statistically, at the third generation the great majority of family businesses go into crisis. In the third generation, however, Cartier had opened boutiques in Paris, New York and London and supplied jewelry to the ruling families, for example to the British king Edward VII. And, years later, they chose Cartier some characters like Jackie Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe and Maria Callas, Wally Simpson, to name a few. The book, in addition to the history of the family, also tells the evolution of taste, from Art Nouveau to Art Deco. Until the sale of the brand, now in its fourth family generation, 115 years after its foundation.

Jam Sahib, Maharajah di Nawanagar, con la spilla per turbante di Cartier
Jam Sahib, Maharajah di Nawanagar, con la spilla per turbante di Cartier
Jeanne Toussaint, direttrice della gioielleria Cartier dal 1933
Jeanne Toussaint, direttrice della gioielleria Cartier dal 1933
Le vetrine di Cartier, in Place Vendôme, a Parigi
Le vetrine di Cartier, in Place Vendôme, a Parigi
Grace Kelly e il classico anello Cartier
Grace Kelly e il classico anello Cartier
Bracciale Tutti Frutti di Cartier. Stima: 600 - 780 mila euro
Bracciale Tutti Frutti di Cartier
Cartier, spilla Caresse d’Orchidées, con una rubellite centrale, taglio cabochon






 

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