Cartier’s Value Transcends Time
Recently Purchased: Cartier Panthére White Gold Diamond & Emerald Bracelet
LOVE. Panthére. Just un Clou. If you adore Cartier (and who doesn’t?), these are the styles you know and may even have in your jewelry box. Yet more extraordinary than these wearable works of art are the stories behind their creation. Let’s explore Cartier’s most coveted jewelry collections, and why some of these pieces are just as - and in some cases more - relevant and valuable today than they were when they first debuted.
Cartier has always stood for luxury. King Edward VII once named Cartier “jeweller of the kings and the king of jewelers.” The famed jewelry house has been beloved by celebrities, royals, and fashion icons since its inception. Today, Cartier continues to inspire the world with decadence, sophistication, glamour, and innovation. Founded by Louis-Francois Cartier in mid nineteenth century France, Cartier has remained one of the most important and recognizable jewelry houses in the world known for producing extravagant gems with the highest quality and most skillful craftsmanship.
To understand the wonderment that is Cartier, we must first delve into Cartier’s history: Let’s take a peek behind the bejeweled curtain to see how this famous house has evolved over time and how their influence has inspired the world of jewelry design on a global scale.
“How has Cartier maintained its place as one of the world’s most respected jewelry houses? Evolution and innovation. Cartier has always been ahead of the curve, simultaneously anticipating and creating fashion trends, evolving with the changing times. Their revolutionary designs capture the current interests, feelings, and excitement of society, always evoking luxury and relevance.”
Cartier was founded at 29 Rue Montorgueil in Paris by Louis-Francois Cartier. Before establishing his eponymous store, Louis-Francois worked as an apprentice to leading watchmaker Adolphe Picard. In 1847 Louis was able to purchase Picard’s workshop and embarked on revolutionizing the business. An opportunity for the store arose during the French socialist revolution in 1870. At this time banks were heavily restricted, leaving limited options for aristocrats to access their wealth. Cartier created a way to leverage his business as a potential solution; he would purchase the assets his clients did have access to – their jewelry. In turn, these customers would frequent the shop to sell their family jewels, tiaras, brooches, and all. After the revolution, people were once again able to spend their money. By then, Cartier had acquired quite an extensive collection to sell, including some of their own creations which were redesigns of the gems that had fallen into their possession, their unique style reflected in each piece. Cartier then became the house from which to buy and order bespoke jewelry. As Louis-Francois developed plans to expand to London and New York, he brought his three sons – Pierre, Jacques, and Louis – on board. Cartier then began designing and selling their own creations alongside their acquired jewelry inventory. In 1902, Pierre acquired the world-famous Fifth Avenue flagship for 2 stands of natural pearls, and the rest is history. Cartier had solidified itself as perhaps the most influential international jewelry design house.
Important Cartier Collections
Recently Purchased: Cartier Panthére White Gold, Diamond and Emerald Rings
Throughout Cartier’s illustrious history, they had always produced magnificent jewels fit for a king – or queen, or movie star. Elaborate designs in the early twentieth century were often decadent and chock full of diamonds, sapphires, rubies, and emeralds. Cartier had always catered to the elite, but as the world became more democratic and as the middle class grew, Cartier, again prescient, saw yet another opportunity. They started to branch out and create pieces that were sexy and sophisticated, whimsical and playful, without the pomp and circumstance. And that has always been Cartier’s magic; balancing visionary ideas with societal trends. Here are some of Cartier’s most renowned creations below.
1901: Pierre Cartier designed what would later become known as the first Tutti Frutti jewelry, a necklace for Queen Alexandra of Great Britain. At the time, the jewelry term had not yet been coined. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1970’s that the term Tutti Frutti was used, so called for its “joyous celebration of color, texture and form.”
1911: Jacques was inspired by a trip to India during the coronation of George V as Emperor. While there, Jacques witnessed the Indian techniques of carving sapphires, rubies and emeralds. Excited by his observation, he imported the carved gemstones and incorporated the carving techniques into his jewelry.
1920s: Tutti Frutti style had reached peak popularity in the 1920s. The newly discovered fame of the Indian Royal Family’s jewelry collections drove Europe to fall in love with the rich, juicy, vivid colors and whimsical fruit and leaf designs. Meanwhile, the geometry of the Art Deco movement would become highly influenced by the love of exoticism from around the world – including the 1923 excavation of jewels from King Tut’s tomb in Egypt. Pierre Cartier remarked that it would “bring some sweeping changes in fashion jewelry,” and indeed it had.
1936: Socialite Daisy Fellows commissioned a Tutti Frutti necklace from Cartier, with many in high society and royals quickly following suit.
How has the Tutti Frutti design changed?
Cartier continues to produce Tutti Frutti jewelry to this day – using the same luxurious array of colors, paying tribute to its original roots. In 2016, Cartier debuted the largest Tutti Frutti necklace ever produced. Baptized the “Rajasthan”, the magnificent necklace features an engraved Colombian emerald, weighing 136.97 carats.
What makes Tutti Frutti iconic?
Each piece is unique - an elegant and striking blend of the beautiful old world Eastern-style carvings of sapphires, rubies and emeralds married with modern French-style platinum and diamond jewelry.
Cartier has always been a leader of change. Tutti Frutti was the embodiment of societal mobility during the Art Deco period – a progression into modernity with glamour and boldness. And while other famous houses also looked East for inspiration, none had done Tutti Frutti better than Cartier. It is one of the most recognizable Art Deco looks. More than a century later it is still glamorous and coveted. While these pieces have moved from the height of fashion, their exquisite design has remained timeless, and the appetite of renowned collector’s demand has only increased for these gem-filled beauties – leading a handful of rare Tutti Frutti bracelets to break world record prices and sell for millions of dollars.
Recently Purchased: Cartier Panthére Yellow Gold, Diamond and Emerald Bracelet
1914: Exoticism was all the rage in the early twentieth century. The world was mesmerized by the colors of the East, and the influence is apparent in Western culture, fashion, and art of the time. Women were instantly attracted to the vivacious colors because it made them feel luxurious and bold – especially during a revolutionary time when women were breaking free from societal norms and traditions. And so, emerged a mascot which embodied the liberation, seduction, and boldness women so desired – the Panther. The feline made its first appearance in a Cartier advertisement featuring a bejeweled woman and a black panther. Shortly after, the feline motif made its first appearance on a wristwatch ala Charles Jacqueau.
1917: The full Panther motif appeared on a cigarette case for a friend, and future Cartier creative director, Jeanne Toussaint.
1935: Jeanne Toussaint designed the first Panther ring.
1948: The first three-dimensional Panther appeared on the Duchess of Windsor’s famous brooch, and later bracelet.
How has the Panthére design changed?
The panther design began with a spotted coat pattern on a watch. Slowly, the beloved feline evolved to three dimensional versions, enhancing its allure. Always with a finger on the pulse of society, Cartier evolved the Panther design to reflect the mood of the times. In the 1940s, the mascot became more lifelike – ferocious and dominating. In the 1950s & 1960s, the friendly feline was domesticated - tamed and whimsical. In the 1970s, the cats were no longer created by hand, and were instead sculpted and moved to casting. The designs of the 1980s went back to a more realistic and expressive panther. Young Panther cubs began to appear in the 1990s, showcasing a more playful side versus the independence and ferocity of the adult cat. Eventually the Panthére collection embraced another exotic wildcat – the tiger. As can be expected, the panther will continue to evolve, but will likely always be iconic, relevant, and chic. Recently, a new collection of Cartier watches debuted in Paris using Panthére jewelry as inspiration.
What makes Panthére iconic?
The rise of the Cartier Panthére began with the commissioned brooch from the Duke of Windsor, stimulating the social elite’s desire for this seductive, bejeweled feline. The appetite has remained ever since. The panther is still as exotic and sexy today as it was when it first debuted. It continues to be one of the most recognized motifs in luxury jewelry. For over 100 years, the Panther has been Cartier’s everlasting symbol for elegance, sophistication, strength, glamour, and opulence. There is a panther for every woman.
The LOVE Bracelet
Recently Purchased: Cartier LOVE Bracelet, Ring, and Necklace collection
- 1969: The first LOVE bracelet was designed by Aldo Cipullo after his apprenticeship at David Webb. It was inspired by the idea of warriors leaving for battle - ‘locking’ their wives away in the form of chastity belt.
How has the LOVE design changed?
The original LOVE design was focused exclusively on the idea of romance. In a move of pure marketing genius, Cartier had gifted a limited supply of LOVE bracelets to 25 famous lovebirds, including Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Cartier then claimed to sell the iconic LOVE bracelets only to couples. While that restriction quickly fell by the wayside, the exclusivity never waned. Today the collection is just as much about fashion as l’amour. To owners of this coveted collection, LOVE can be both a commitment to a relationship and a staple of their wardrobe – as it is not meant to be taken off!
The initial release caused a tremendous sensation. Now, the LOVE design has expanded to include rings, necklaces, and earrings of different gold colors. The theme of the simple bangle held to the wrist by screws on both sides has not changed. Yet today, every iteration imaginable – diamonds and colored stones in the place of screw holes, LOVE bangles interlocked, and pave diamond accents – all enhance the original design.
What makes the LOVE iconic?
LOVE is Universal – in every sense of the word. This collection is worn by men and woman of all ages. At the time, the design was an ingenious creation of something so simple, yet internationally recognizable and versatile. The minimalist, everyday chic look has been a symbol of love & commitment for over 40 years. To this day, appeal has only increased, and the design has truly stood the test of time.
The Juste Un Clou
Recently Purchased: Cartier Juste un Clou Bracelet, Ring, and Necklace Collection
- 1971: French for “Just a nail,” the first Juste un Clou was designed also by Aldo Cippulo, who – fresh off the success of his LOVE creation - wanted to continue to change the fashion script and design every day, luxury jewelry for men and women that could be worn day and night.
How has the Juste Un Clou design changed or remained the same?
Juste un Clou has stood the test of time - the design itself has not changed and remains one of the most sought after Cartier collections.
What makes Juste Un Clou iconic?
The idea that something so ordinary could be converted into something so sleek and sexy for both men and women was revolutionary for its time. Juste un Clou was a distinction from the bold looks of the past, making it relatable and fashionable. The allure of a simple tool has never lost its appeal and remains as fashionable today as ever. Leave it to Cartier to make a common household nail into a coveted fashion icon.
Cartier’s Continuous Inspiration: Transcending Trends and Time
How has Cartier maintained its place as one of the world’s most respected jewelry houses? Evolution and innovation. Cartier has always been ahead of the curve, simultaneously anticipating and creating fashion trends, evolving with the changing times. Their revolutionary designs capture the current interests, feelings, and excitement of society, always evoking luxury and relevance. The famed house continues to mix designs, techniques, colors, and cultures – and inspires innovation around the world. Cartier’s ingenious creativity has led to numerous commissions from the most powerful members of society - furthering the allure and demand for their jewelry. Today Cartier continues to inspire collectors across the globe with their timeless designs – both old and new.
CIRCA Can Unlock the Value of Your Important Cartier
Cartier has a long and storied history. Their jewelry is among the most collected in the world. Yet still, there are those who part with their Cartier jewelry. People sell for all different reasons. Inherited jewelry, for example, can be a delightful surprise or an unwelcomed burden. Yesteryear’s styles may not bring you joy today. That Cartier gift from a former lover now sits in the back of your jewelry box, a reminder of a past relationship. Why should you think of CIRCA when you think about selling your Cartier jewelry? Why is CIRCA the most trusted buyer of Cartier? How can CIRCA pay the most for Cartier jewelry over and over again?
Recently Purchased: Iconic Cartier Panthére, Trinity, Juste un Clou, and Love
CIRCA is the world’s leader in buying fine, signed, and estate jewelry – especially from famous makers like Cartier. We have been purchasing fine jewelry for over twenty years and have a dedicated team of professional and highly trained jewelry buyers with access to some of the most prominent jewelry collectors in the world - which motivates CIRCA to pay the most for your Cartier jewelry. CIRCA has expertise in the rarest vintage Cartier creations, but we can also offer the best value for your authentic Cartier LOVE jewelry.
Right now, demand is strong for iconic Cartier jewelry collections. Our collectors look for period and modern pieces by Cartier, including LOVE bangles, Panthére necklaces, vintage rings, and diamond Art Deco earrings. There is significant value in these timeless collections, but the demand for Cartier jewelry is not limited to only the collections mentioned in this article. If you’re thinking of selling your Cartier jewelry, or curious what your Cartier may be worth, make an appointment at one of 12 locations CIRCA has worldwide. The day of your appointment you will meet with one of our jewelry buyers in a private and luxurious setting. We will evaluate your pieces individually, provide written offers for your consideration, and immediate payment upon acceptance of our offer. Schedule a visit to CIRCA, where your Cartier is Worth More.