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Tonie Ong

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Some of the most luxurious items in the world are diamond jewelry. These intricate pieces are made out of some of one of the planets rarest minerals, which makes them that much more valuable and expensive. Additionally, they add sparkle and shine to any ensemble. There’s also the level of artisanship and craftsmanship when making these pieces. The level of work that goes into making their jewelry is tantamount to creating an haute couture dress. Consequently, some diamond-encrusted accessories can go so high, it can be as expensive as a house and lot in many countries. One brand that is prominent in selling these is Cartier.

For many, the name Cartier is tantamount to luxury. Their selections are some of the most beautiful pieces in the world, with some containing rare metals and gemstones that make them much more valuable. They’ve become one of the premier providers of luxurious watches, jewelry, and other accessories, beloved by both their elite clientele and mass customers. The company’s name has become so well-known and beloved that it has been used in songs, films, and TV shows, elevating the brand and spreading more awareness for them. Today, Cartier is sold in over 125 countries—a testament to its standing as a luxury powerhouse.

Steps toward brand success

Cartier boutique in Beijing, China.
Cartier boutique in Beijing, China.

The company was founded by Louis-Francois Cartier in 1847 in Paris, France. It used to be a workshop owned by his mentor, but Cartier eventually bought the company for himself and established his namesake brand. In 1847, Louis-Francois’ son Alfred took over the company, establishing it as a watch and fine jewelry brand. When Alfred’s sons—Louis, Pierre, and Jacques—took over by the 1990’s, they expanded the brand exponentially. The company soon had branches in Europe and the United States. In 1907, they signed a partnership with Edmond Jaeger to transfer their watches and fine jewelry to their respective cities.

Because of their many art deco pieces, Cartier became one of the most beloved brands during the 1920’s. The pieces they made during their decade defined what they mean for the luxury business today. Around this time, various royal houses became clients of the brand, such as nobilities of Spain, England, and Russia. Soon, the whole world knew of Cartier, and for many decades, they were the standard of luxury when it came to jewelry. In 1972, the company was bought by a group of investors led by Joseph Kanoui, which ended the association of the Cartier family from their namesake business.

Timeless pieces

Cartier Santos Watch

Best Places to Shop for Cartier Watches

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Top 9 Best-selling Cartier Watches

Ballon Bleu de Cartier Carbon
Ballon Bleu de Cartier Carbon

$6,600

Panthère de Cartier 18K Yellow Gold
Panthère de Cartier 18K Yellow Gold

$22,800

Ronde Croisière de Cartier
Ronde Croisière de Cartier

$4,650

Drive de Cartier Moon Phase
Drive de Cartier Moon Phase

$7,850

Calibre de Cartier Diver 18K Rose Gold
Calibre de Cartier Diver 18K Rose Gold

$10,200

Tank Francaise Medium Diamond
Tank Francaise Medium Diamond

$5,350

Ballon Bleu de Cartier 18K Pink Gold
Ballon Bleu de Cartier 18K Pink Gold

$10,700

Tank Solo Automatic Extra-Large 18K Pink Gold
Tank Solo Automatic Extra-Large 18K Pink Gold

$8,200

Tank Anglaise Medium
Tank Anglaise Medium

$5,450


For a brand spanning several decades, Cartier has released some pieces that have stood the test of time. One of the first ones was the “Santos” watch, first released in 1904, named after Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont. He was a friend of Louis Cartier, one of the founder’s grandsons, and complained to him how difficult it was to fly a plane with a pocket watch. As a response, Louis designed a wristwatch that was sleek and easy to wear, so that the wearer won’t have trouble telling the time wherever he is and whatever he’s doing. The Santos watch was an immediate commercial success. Another iconic Cartier piece is the Mystery clock—one where the mechanisms are hidden and the clock’s face is put on a transparent base. It is now one of the most bought and used types of clocks in the world today.

When it comes to jewelry, one of their most famous is the diamond-encrusted tiara worn by Kate Middleton for her wedding to Prince William. The beautiful yet subdued wavy design captures both the simple, but extraordinary beauty of both the bride and her style. She wore it with a thin tulle veil, adding a lighter and more feminine touch to the tiara. It has since become one of the most iconic pieces in Cartier’s roster. It is also one of the most copied, worn by brides who want to look like the Duchess of Cambridge on their wedding days.

Quirky jewels

Cartier Jewelry 2
Photo: Casimiro PT

Best Places to Shop for Cartier Jewelry

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Top 12 Best-selling Cartier Jewelry

Pink Gold Diamond Love Bracelet
Pink Gold Diamond Love Bracelet

£8,700

Pink Gold and Diamond-Paved Love Bracelet
Pink Gold and Diamond-Paved Love Bracelet

£34,700

Small Pink Gold Diamond Love Ring
Small Pink Gold Diamond Love Ring

£4,000

Pink Gold Love Diamond Ring
Pink Gold Love Diamond Ring

£3,100

Yellow Gold Love Diamond Earrings
Yellow Gold Love Diamond Earrings

£4,000

Yellow Gold Juste un Clou Ring
Yellow Gold Juste un Clou Ring

£2,020

White and Pink Gold Diamond-Paved Love Ring
White and Pink Gold Diamond-Paved Love Ring

£5,700

Yellow Gold Juste en Clou Pavé Diamond Necklace
Yellow Gold Juste en Clou Pavé Diamond Necklace

£5,450

White Gold and Diamond Panthère de Cartier Ring
White Gold and Diamond Panthère de Cartier Ring

£19,700

Medium Platinum and Diamond Cartier Destinée Ring
Medium Platinum and Diamond Cartier Destinée Ring

£18,300

Pavé Diamond Maillon Panthère Ring
Pavé Diamond Maillon Panthère Ring

£7,000

Trinity de Cartier Pavé Diamond Ring
Trinity de Cartier Pavé Diamond Ring

£30,000


Cartier pieces are usually standouts because of their quirkiness. Their items are not as rigid and formally structured as other jewelry brands’, but they retain the same amount of prestige and refinement. Even when they produce the typical fauna design, sometimes the shape is a bit curvier, the stones chosen are unorthodox, or their proportion is not as exact as one might expect from a label like Cartier. It’s often said that among the premier jewelers in the luxury business, Cartier has the most character. Their pieces are always unique and mysterious, even some of their most iconic. If one wants to have a standout item to wear on a special occasion, experts have regarded Cartier as the best option.

A burst of colors

Cartier Jewelry
Photo: Sorbis

If there’s one thing Cartier has become known for, it’s their colorful array of exquisite jewelry. No other jewelry brand is as experimental and playful of hues and tones quite like this French luxury label. Their love for color may have started in the 1920’s when the style was as exuberant as one can get. As the fashions of that era became simpler and shorter, the jewelry had to be more vibrant and impactful. Cartier went beyond the usual diamonds and pearls and featured a lot of special tones with their own colorful characteristics.

From ocean-blue sapphires, fiery-rubies, and striking green emeralds, Cartier’s piece became a favorite among the elite. It wasn’t just the exotic colors that had women clamoring for more, but the show-stopping colors as well. The stones injected a lot more personality, and women wore them on their necks, hair, fingers, and many more. At times, clients looked like rainbows themselves, clad in colorful Cartier pieces from head to toe. Even in the more sophisticated and subdued settings, the vivid colors of their jewelry added a much-needed pizzazz to their ensemble. This is what Cartier did and has done all these years, and they continue to create colorful pieces to this day.

The bejeweled animal kingdom

Cartier Jewellery

Another main characteristic of Cartier is their creations of animals in their pieces. Going beyond typical jewelry designs, an indelible signature of the label is their animal-shaped items that have since captured the eye of many elite clients through the years. No other jewelry house of their caliber does this, and it’s their own ostentatious sign of luxury and refinement. In fact, a lot of their iconic pieces are those of their animal kingdom pieces, mostly because it features such character in design and expertise in construction. And with some paired with colorful exotic stones, the pieces become doubly more valuable and coveted.

Who could forget the snake or alligator necklaces with emerald stones? Or the diamond panther rings with sapphire spots? Surely no one could forget the parrot brooch sitting atop a green tourmaline. No matter which member of the animal kingdom they featured, their pieced looked exotic and exquisite in its execution. While some may find it a comical touch, no one can deny that it’s a new and very unique approach to a concept that is even more traditional than haute couture itself. Staying true to their character is what has helped Cartier remain one of the premier jewelry brands in the world today.

Most memorable moments and clients

Woman spotted wearinga a golden Cartier Santos Watch before Fendi fashion show in Milan.
Woman spotted wearinga a golden Cartier Santos Watch before Fendi fashion show in Milan. Photo: andersphoto

Because of their show-stopping pieces, Cartier has lent many of their pieces to A-list stars and other prominent figures for various events. One of the most beautiful of such moments was when Helen Mirren wore statement necklace for the 2011 Academy awards ceremony. Her simple dark gray evening gown dress was made even classier when the Cartier pieces added more sparkle to her ensemble. With her entire look, Mirren was included in various Best-Dressed lists of the Oscars red carpet during that year. For the film Wall Street, actor Michael Douglas wore Cartier watches and jewelry throughout the film. Even the Duchess of Cambridge, more commonly known as Kate Middleton, has worn Cartier throughout her many public events.

After all these years, Cartier remains to be one of the premier jewelers in the world. Their timeless pieces and devotion to elegance have men and women buying from them. They are one of the labels considered to be the pinnacles of ultimate luxury and refinement. From Hollywood elites to royal families, the brand has been worn by countless famous figures and prominent personalities throughout history. With such a heritage, history, and selections, Cartier represents rich in every sense of the word.

Cartier Boutique in Monaco, France.
Cartier Boutique in Monaco, France. Photo: Anton_Ivanov

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