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Cartier

Perhaps 1847 was not the ideal time to open a new watchmaking and jewelry business, as the French Revolution was not kind to the aristocracy who could afford such luxuries. Nevertheless, it was the year Louis-François Cartier (1819–1904) — who was born into poverty — founded his eponymous empire, assuming control of the workshop of watchmaker Adolphe Picard, under whom he had previously been employed as an assistant. Of course, in the beginning, it was a relatively modest affair, but by the late 1850s, Cartier had its first royal client, Princess Mathilde Bonaparte, niece of Napoleon Bonaparte, who commissioned the jeweler to design brooches, earrings and other accessories.

Under the leadership of Louis-François’s son, Alfred, who took over in 1874, business boomed. Royalty around the world wore Cartier pieces, including Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, the Maharaja of Patiala and King Edward VII, who had 27 tiaras made by the jewelry house for his coronation in 1902 and issued Cartier a royal warrant in 1904. (Today, the British royal family still dons Cartier pieces; Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, regularly sports a Ballon Bleu de Cartier watch.)

Cartier’s golden years, however, began when Alfred introduced his three sons, Louis, Pierre and Jacques, to the business. The brothers expanded Cartier globally: Louis reigned in Paris, Pierre in New York and Jacques in London, ensuring their brand’s consistency at their branches across the world. The trio also brought in such talents as Charles Jacqueau and Jeanne Toussaint.

One of Cartier’s earliest major successes was the Santos de Cartier watch — one of the world's first modern wristwatches for men. (Previously, a large number of people were using only pocket watches.) Louis designed the timepiece in 1904 for his friend, popular Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, who wanted to be able to check the time more easily while flying.

Cartier’s other famous timepieces include the Tank watch, which was inspired by the linear form of military tanks during World War I, and the so-called mystery clocks. Invented by watchmaker and magician Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin and later crafted exclusively for Cartier in the house’s workshop by watchmaker Maurice Couët, the mystery clocks were so named because the integration of glass dials on which the clocks’ hands would seemingly float as well as structures that are hidden away within the base give the illusion that they operate without machinery.

On the jewelry side of the business, Cartier’s internationally renowned offerings include the Tutti Frutti collection, which featured colorful carved gemstones inspired by Jacques’s trip to India and grew in popularity during the Art Deco years; the panthère motif, which has been incorporated into everything from brooches to rings; and the Love bracelet, a minimal, modernist locking bangle inspired by medieval chastity belts.

While the Cartier family sold the business following the death of Pierre in 1964, the brand continues to innovate today, renewing old hits and creating new masterpieces. It’s certainly one of the most well known and internationally revered jewelers in the world among clients both existing and aspirational.

On 1stDibs, find a growing collection of contemporary and vintage Cartier watches, engagement rings, necklaces and other accessories.

Average Sold Price
$6,552
Styles
Iconic Designs from Cartier
Explore timeless pieces that have earned their place in history.
Love Ring
Love Ring
Ballon Bleu de Cartier Watch
Ballon Bleu de Cartier Watch
Trinity Ring
Trinity Ring
Love Bracelet
Love Bracelet
Trinity de Cartier Diamond Yellow Gold Hoop Earrings
By Cartier
Located in New York, NY
These iconic Cartier hoop earrings from the classic Trinity de Cartier collection are crafted in 18k yellow gold and set with brilliant-cut round G VS diamonds weighing an estimated ...
Category

1990s Cartier

Materials

Diamond, Yellow Gold

Cartier Maillon Panthère 18 Karat Yellow Gold and Diamond Earrings, 1999
By Cartier
Located in Zurich, CH
Classy pair of 18 karat yellow gold and diamond Maillon Panthère half-hoop earrings by Cartier, 1999. Of brick-link design, set with 120 brilliant-cut diamonds totalling circa 2 cara...
Category

1990s Modern Cartier

Materials

Diamond, Gold, 18k Gold, Yellow Gold

Vintage Cartier 18 Karat Yellow Gold Necklace
By Cartier
Located in Beverly Hills, CA
One Vintage Cartier 18k Gold Necklace. Crafted in 18 karat yellow gold, signed Cartier, 1989 with maker's mark and purity mark. Measuring 18 inches in length. Circa 1980s. About Th...
Category

1980s Vintage Cartier

Materials

18k Gold, Yellow Gold

Cartier Love 18K Rose Gold Rose Multi Gem Ring
By Cartier
Located in Banbury, GB
LOVE ring, 18K rose gold, set with 1 pink sapphire, 1 blue sapphire, 1 yellow sapphire, 1 green garnet, 1 orange garnet, and 1 amethyst. Width: 5.5mm. Dandelion Antiques Code AT-083...
Category

2010s Cartier

Materials

Diamond, Amethyst, Garnet, Blue Sapphire, Pink Sapphire, 18k Gold, Rose ...

Cartier Diamants Légers Diamond 18k Rose Gold Necklace XS
By Cartier
Located in Dubai, Al Qouz 2
The Diamants Légers collection by Cartier is all about bringing feminine elegance into light by deploying exceptional diamonds into minimalist designs. This necklace rendered in 18k ...
Category

2010s Contemporary Cartier

Cartier Art Deco 18K Gold Natural Burma Octagonal Step Cut Sapphire Ring
By Cartier
Located in New York, NY
Exquisite Art Deco Cartier Natural Burmese sapphire ring, 1930's. Octagonal Step Cut Sapphire measuring 11.42 by 9.05 by 4.57, 4.76 Carat. This rarely seen and highly desirable cut g...
Category

Early 20th Century Art Deco Cartier

Materials

Sapphire, 18k Gold, Yellow Gold

Cartier Love 18K Rose Gold Bracelet
By Cartier
Located in Southampton, PA
This LOVE bracelet is a classic Cartier offering. The simple bangle is made with 18K rose gold and features the iconic Cartier screw motif and features a new mechanism. The inside of...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Cartier

Materials

Rose Gold

Vintage Cartier Techtonique Double Row Diamond 18 Karat White Gold Bracelet
By Cartier
Located in Beverly Hills, CA
One Vintage Cartier Techtonique Double Row Diamond 18k White Gold Bracelet. Featuring 66 round brilliant cut diamonds with a total weight of approximately 12.00 carats, graded D-E co...
Category

Early 2000s Cartier

Materials

Diamond, 18k Gold, White Gold

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Cartier Sellers

NIGHTWINGS
5 / 5
The Luxury Closet
4.7 / 5
Opulent Jewelers
4.9 / 5
SwissWatchExpo, Inc.
4.9 / 5
Yafa Signed Jewels / Maurice Moradof
5 / 5
Luxury Bazaar
4.9 / 5
Jewels on Time
5 / 5

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Questions About Cartier
  • 1stDibs ExpertFebruary 22, 2021
    A Cartier engagement ring can cost between $3,000 and $800,000. The price depends on the diamond's carat weight and quality.
  • 1stDibs ExpertFebruary 22, 2021
    A Cartier solitaire engagement ring price varies depending on material, stone, setting and caratage. Shop a variety of Cartier solitaire engagement rings on 1stDibs.com.
  • 1stDibs ExpertOctober 5, 2021
    A Rolling Ring is a trinity ring, also known as a Russian wedding band. It is a type of ring design that has three interlocking bands. These bands that form the ring are solid metal, which can be two-toned, tri-color, or gold. Find a range of antique and vintage rolling rings on 1tsDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertFebruary 22, 2021
    Most Cartier watches are quartz, but the iconic Tank watch is automatic. While quartz watches work due to a pre-installed battery, automatic watches use a spring system and are self-winding.
  • 1stDibs ExpertFebruary 22, 2021
    Cartier pieces may be cheaper in Paris than they are in the U.S., but that's because of the exchange rate. Cartier doesn't price the pieces depending on the country.