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July 14, 2021 4 min read

THE ROYAL HISTORY OF CARTIER JEWELRY

Did you know that Cartier jewelry served royalty when it originated in 1847 by Louis-Francoise Cartier in Paris, France? They served the highest echelon clients of society including King Edward VII of Great Britain!

The history of Cartier Jewelry is as follows:

  • Cartier becomes an apprentice watchmaker in his boyhood. 
  • He purchased the storefront from his employer in 1847 to begin selling watches and other designer jewelry items. 
  • The uprising in Paris in 1848 made business difficult at first because the diamond market went downhill.
  • The Commune helped Cartier’s son to build a famous jewelry store. 
  • The business was moved to Rue de la Paix which is the most recognized area in Paris for selling the highest quality jewelry. 
  • The Cartier Golden Period occurred from 1904-1920.
  • Cartier moved to their 5th Avenue location in New York in 1917. 
  • The Cartier family led the company until it was sold in 1964.

The Cartier jewelry brand had a rough start but quickly rose to popularity and still has a prominent market share of vintage jewelry pieces (as well as contemporary) in today’s society. 

Cartier’s Watchmaker Apprenticeship (Before 1847)

Louis Francois Cartier became a watchmaker apprentice to Adolphe Picard in his youth. He learned the tricks of the trade in making watches from his master. When Picard wanted to step down from minding the store as the owner, he sold it to Cartier as the new owner. Cartier’s desire was to advance the quality of watches and fine jewelry beyond the simplicity of design and the storefront that Picard offered during his ownership. 

Cartier Purchases Picard’s Storefront (1847)

Cartier purchased Picard’s storefront in 1847. While it was difficult for Picard to even be successful running his watch shop, Cartier did not want to give up as he took over ownership. To begin optimal sales, Cartier curated only the finest jewelry and watches in the French community to sell in his designer jewelry store.

The Uprising in Paris (1848)

A year after Cartier took over Picard’s storefront, there was an Uprising in Paris which occurred in 1848. Working class individuals challenged wealthy people in the community, which resulted in the diamond market plummeting since people were not prioritizing jewelry. 

 

The Paris Commune (1870)

As the years went on, Louis’s son, Alfred Cartier, joined the business because he was the most entrepreneurial out of his 3 sons. Alfred was the main component in getting the Cartier jewelry brand to its popularity of the 20th century that carried over into modern day. 

 

The Paris Commune of 1870 involved new rulers of the French nation rising up against the members of higher echelon society. Therefore, Alfred offered their jewelry pieces to the wealthy people who frequented their shop for very little value in comparison to retail price. While this was a rough time for the company in losing profit, the move ultimately served as the brand’s launch forward to popularity. 

Cartier Moves to Rue de la Paix (1900)

The Rue de la Paix was the hub where wealthy people shopped for jewelry in the French community. Alfred moved Cartier to this shopping hub around 1900, which proved to be one of the most lucrative moves as it benefited from the expanding popularity of the brand from the Paris Commune event. 

Cartier’s Sons Take Over the Business During the Brand’s Golden Period (1904-1920)

Louis-Francois Cartier passed away in 1904. Thereafter, the Cartier jewelry business was inherited by his sons. 

 

The company was then ready for expansion into other cities throughout the world. 

Cartier Moves to 5th Avenue in New York for the Expansion Period (1917)

Cartier made its big leap from the headquarters in London to a new headquarters on 5th Avenue in New York. Expanding from just French customers to include American customers helped to spread their brand name even more during this expansion period.

The brother, Pierre, was in charge of the expansion as he continued to make watches and other jewelry pieces such as rings and necklaces. Once they were settled at the New York townhouse on 5th avenue, Cartier was being featured on the front pages of newspapers, which helped to spread the word about their brand.

The Cartier Family Oversees the Brand Until Selling It in 1964

Once the Great Depression hit in the 1930s, Cartier only survived because they conducted more business in the Far East to make up for the dwindling business in the United States. Many people were not able to purchase jewelry because jobs were scarce, therefore, they would only spend money on the essentials. 

Pierre was the one solely running the business because his brothers, Louis and Jacques had died in the same year, in 1942, just within months of one another. The 3 brothers’ children were in charge of the other 3 branches in New York, Paris, and London respectively.

When Pierre passed away in 1964, the Cartier company was bought out by Robert Hocq, a WWII French Resistance hero in 1972. 

Cartier Today

Cartier has 200 stores worldwide in 125 countries today. You can visit The Trove to shop for a curated collection of vintage and contemporary Cartier jewelry.  


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THE ROYAL HISTORY OF CARTIER JEWELRY
THE ROYAL HISTORY OF CARTIER JEWELRY

July 14, 2021 4 min read

Did you know that Cartier jewelry served royalty when it originated in 1847 by Louis-Francoise Cartier in Paris, France? They served the highest echelon clients of society including King Edward VII of Great Britain!
THE ROYAL HISTORY OF CARTIER JEWELRY
THE ROYAL HISTORY OF CARTIER JEWELRY

July 14, 2021 4 min read

Did you know that Cartier jewelry served royalty when it originated in 1847 by Louis-Francoise Cartier in Paris, France? They served the highest echelon clients of society including King Edward VII of Great Britain!