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Cartier (Est. 1847) Formally known as Maison Cartier, Cartier was established in Paris in 1847 by master jeweler, Louis Francois Cartier. Its remarkable history was furthered through the efforts of his son, Alfred and grandsons, Louis, Pierre, and Jacques. Its world renown began in 1899 when the Cartiers established premises on a prestigious, cosmopolitan street in the French capital. It was there that it began to attract the attention of world famous figures especially royalty.
Always interested in expanding their Parisian operation worldwide, Pierre and Louis traveled to Russia in 1904. The trip inspired creations that brought them to the attention of the Imperial family and the Russian aristocracy.
In 1909, brother Jacques opened an English operation on New Bond Street in London. Through it, Jacques cultivated ties with Indian princes that led to the opening of an Indian location in 1911. Indian maharajahs were so impressed with the Cartier creations that they entrusted the firm with valuable gemstones to be set in the modern style.
In 1909, Pierre established the American branch in New York City. It became a magnet for rich industrialists and financiers plus stars of Broadway and Hollywood.
Called “Jewelers To Kings, King of Jewelers” by the Prince of Wales (the future King of England, Edward VII), Cartier was awarded 15 royal patents between 1904 and 1939 thus establishing the house of Cartier as the pre-eminent supplier of jewelry, especially tiaras and rings, to royal families of Europe and Asia. This tradition continues into our own time.
Grace Kelly wore a Cartier emerald cut diamond ring when she married Prince Rainier of Monaco and became Princess Grace. More recently Katherine Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, wore the Halo tiara (its intricate scroll work and diamonds produce a halo of light) when she married Prince William in 2011. That tiara was originally designed for William’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II in 1936.
Since the late 19th Century, Cartier has also been known for its flora, fauna, and animal motifs created in extravagant yet natural designs often made of platinum and gold and encrusted with diamonds and other precious stones.
In the late 1800’s, Cartier began producing watches notable not only for their precision and design (especially Santos and Tank watches) but also for incorporating styles found in their jewelry collections.