On The Square

Cartier, A History of Innovation and Royal Sophistication

By Bidsquare

Mar 31,2016 | 16:00 EDT

More than just a jeweler, Cartier’s history is full of innovation and royal sophistication. Did you know Louis Cartier was the first person to successfully use platinum in jewelry-making? Because of this expertise, he became the pioneer jeweler in the occidental world at that time.

Société Cartier, known more often as just Cartier, designs, manufactures and sells jewelry and watches. Louis-François Cartier founded the company in Paris, France in 1847. Cartier has a long history with royal families and celebrities. King Edward VII of England referred to Cartier as “the jeweler of kings and the king of jewelers.” For his coronation in 1902, Edward VII ordered 27 tiaras and issued a royal warrant to Cartier in 1904. 

King Edward VII wearing Cartier

The Cartier Halo Tiara pictured below on several royals, was made by Cartier in 1936 and purchased by The Duke of York (later King George VI) for The Duchess of York (later Queen Elizabeth). The tiara is formed as a band of 16 graduated scrolls set with 739 brilliants and 149 baton diamonds. The tiara was presented to Princess Elizabeth (now The Queen) by her mother on the occasion of her 18th birthday. The tiara was lent by The Queen to The Duchess of Cambridge for the occasion of her wedding.

The Cartier Halo Tiara over the years; From left to right, Princess Elizabeth (now the Queen) in the Cartier Halo Tiara, (Center) the Queen lent the tiara to her sister, Princess Margaret in 1951, (Right) the Queen lent the tiara to her daughter, Princess Anne in 1969

The Duchess of Cambridge’s veil was held in place by the diamond ‘Halo’ tiara on her wedding day

Cartier was also the first watchmaker to popularize the wristwatch. After hearing his friend and pioneer aviator, Alberto Santos-Dumont complain about how hard it was to read a pocket watch when recording flight times, Louis Cartier was inspired to solve the problem. The Santos-Dumont wristwatch, the first pilot watch was born. In addition to the first pilot watch, Santos-Dumont was also the first wristwatch for men. Since then Cartier Wristwatches have become very famous.

Alberto Santos-Dumont and the Santos-Dumont Wristwatch

This April youll find a collection of Cartier fine jewelry and timepieces on Bidsquare. A highlight in Ragos Fine and Unreserved Jewelry sale on April 17, a diamond bracelet watch by Cartier will be at online auction.

Cartier, New York, Diamond Bracelet Watch, Estimate $25,000-35,000


Detail of the Cartier Diamond Bracelet Watch

Another example illustrating the creative design of Cartier is the fine 18 Karat Yellow Gold, Platinum, Polychrome Enamel and Diamond Brooch in Leslie Hindman Auctioneers upcoming Important Jewelry auction April 3-4. Its sculptured gold rose is held within a clutched black enameled hand, and the center of the rose contains an old European cut diamond.

A Fine 18 Karat Yellow Gold, Platinum, Polychrome Enamel and Diamond Brooch, Cartier, France, 11.70 dwts., Estimate $8,000-12,000

Another classic Cartier design in the Leslie Hindman Auctioneers Important Jewelry sale is an 18 Karat Yellow Gold and Diamond Bracelet.

An 18 Karat Yellow Gold and Diamond Bracelet, Cartier, 39.70 dwts., Estimate $8,000-12,000

Never miss Cartier on Bidsquare, with new auctions added daily, browse vintage to contemporary designs. View Cartier on Bidsquare here.


For more information about the royal collection of Cartier visit the Royal Collection Trust.