The Cartiers: The Untold Story of the Family Behind the Jewelry Empire

Image of The Cartiers: The Untold Story of the Family Behind the Jewelry Empire
Release Date: 
October 29, 2019
Ballantine Books
Reviewed by: 

This is an incredible monograph that chronicles the rise and family dynamics of one of the most prestigious and internationally known jewelry brands linked to the family that built it “brick by brick.” Ms. Brickell, who is a direct descendant of the family, proffers a very detailed and somewhat intimate story of the Cartiers from both a familial and business point of view. It is inconceivable today that one family had such a singular vision from the very start. The goal and vision were seemingly genetically passed on from generation to generation

This is absolutely not one of those glorious coffee table books displaying just the brilliance of Cartier jewelry. This is a book that must be read and in fact, the volume almost reads like a family diary/journal for the four generations of the Cartier family.

Brickell successfully intertwines the family aspect with both the business and creative aspects. This family was gifted with a brilliance that was part instinctual and mostly good old common sense and logic. Whether she is writing about the ascension of the brand or the way in which it created its signatures, the author conveys a sense of loyalty, a goal driven family, and the love that all the grandfathers, fathers, sons, and grandchildren were all imbued with. It is that which makes this monograph so much more than just a dry family biography.

Innovation, determination, intuition, experimentation, and patience play major parts in the way this brand was built. This reader was particularly delighted with the tales of how the brand expanded to Russia and how the famous mystery clock came to fruition as well as who passed through the doorways of their salons during their illustrious growth. The book is filled with so many backstories and behind the scenes events that one would never know about unless a trunk full of memories hadn’t been discovered by Ms. Brickell (granddaughter of Jean-Jacques Cartier) when on a summer holiday at the family retreat. It was the contents of this long unseen trunk that was the fodder for this wonderful story of a revered heritage brand. Cartier is a name synonymous with luxury and haute joallier and originality built upon its signatures. Now the name Cartier can also be associated with a family that was of like mind no matter which generation was in charge.

The takeaway is simply the prospective reader has to have more than just an interest in the jewels of Cartier; they must be will willing to relive just how it all began from its founding father to present.