The Cartiers: book review

Books Stories

Sharing with you my thoughts on the book “The Cartiers”.

The first thing to write is that I didn’t use to be the fan of Cartier (except some pieces I saw in New York at Christie’s pre-auction exhibition “Maharajas and Mughal Magnificence”). And, honestly, I became after reading this book.

I’m a jewelry designer with a business background. I’m interested not only in the pieces themselves but also in how the companies made that happen? How you manage to create and sell a multi-million jewelry piece? How you manage to sustain a company which keeps doing it for one-two hundred years? There’s always some amazing business success behind these things.

When I saw this December a new book by Francesca Cartier Brickell, “The Cartiers”, I immediately added it to my Christmas wish-list. I nearly swallowed the 500+ pages book in a couple of days.

The official description is “how the three Cartier brothers turned their grandfather’s Parisian store into a global icon”. The thing is, that the author made an amazing 10-year job of preparing the story, based on private letters, dearly kept for more than a century in the family, on her visits to the key places in the Cartier history, meeting with people who (of whose successors) were the part of the company’s history.

Family letters. Photo from the book

Madame Cartier is leading us with love and attention to details through more than 170-year history of the maison. It’s like to travel in time. First we are getting to the very beginning, to the first steps from nothing to the future empire. How the little atelier was born and started to grow. Then the three sons of the founder took the business to a completely new level, using not only the “right thing at a right place” lever, but also the power of a family business.

I honestly think that Netflix should take the book and make a series of it! The adventures and twists are amazing! Only imagine getting through two World Wars, the Great Depression, meeting all the great people of the century, all the ups and downs of a family company, turned into an empire.

The Cartier Style. Photo from the book

And, what’s the most amazing, it’s to see the real people behind all these events. The author generously shares with us the private stories of many people we already know of - the Rothschields, the royal families from all across the globe, famous actors and designers.

I’d love to share with you one or two of these stories here! But, instead, I recommend to get the book and enjoy all of them. It’s not only a book about jewelry, it’s a book on history, business, and a crash-course on a family business, all in one!

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