The Cartiers: The Untold Story of the Family Behind the Jewelry Empire (Hardcover)

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“A dynamic group biography studded with design history and high-society dash. . . . [This] elegantly wrought narrative bears the Cartier hallmark.”—The Economist

The captivating story of the family behind the Cartier empire and the three brothers who turned their grandfather’s humble Parisian jewelry store into a global luxury icon—as told by a great-granddaughter with exclusive access to long-lost family archives

“Ms. Cartier Brickell has done her grandfather proud.”—The Wall Street Journal

The Cartiers is the revealing tale of a jewelry dynasty—four generations, from revolutionary France to the 1970s. At its heart are the three Cartier brothers whose motto was “Never copy, only create” and who made their family firm internationally famous in the early days of the twentieth century, thanks to their unique and complementary talents: Louis, the visionary designer who created the first men’s wristwatch to help an aviator friend tell the time without taking his hands off the controls of his flying machine; Pierre, the master dealmaker who bought the New York headquarters on Fifth Avenue for a double-stranded natural pearl necklace; and Jacques, the globe-trotting gemstone expert whose travels to India gave Cartier access to the world’s best rubies, emeralds, and sapphires, inspiring the celebrated Tutti Frutti jewelry.

Francesca Cartier Brickell, whose great-grandfather was the youngest of the brothers, has traveled the world researching her family’s history, tracking down those connected with her ancestors and discovering long-lost pieces of the puzzle along the way. Now she reveals never-before-told dramas, romances, intrigues, betrayals, and more.

The Cartiers also offers a behind-the-scenes look at the firm’s most iconic jewelry—the notoriously cursed Hope Diamond, the Romanov emeralds, the classic panther pieces—and the long line of stars from the worlds of fashion, film, and royalty who wore them, from Indian maharajas and Russian grand duchesses to Wallis Simpson, Coco Chanel, and Elizabeth Taylor.

Published in the two-hundredth anniversary year of the birth of the dynasty’s founder, Louis-François Cartier, this book is a magnificent, definitive, epic social history shown through the deeply personal lens of one legendary family.

About the Author


A graduate in English literature from Oxford University, Francesca Cartier Brickell is a direct descendant of the Cartier family. Her great-great-great-grandfather founded Cartier in 1847. Her late grandfather Jean-Jacques Cartier was the last of the family to manage and own a branch of the world-famous jewelry firm. She is a sought-after international lecturer on Cartier’s illustrious history and has given talks for major auction houses, museums, and societies. This book is the result of a decade of the author’s independent research into her family and the business they founded. She lives with her husband and children in London and the South of France.

Praise For…


“[Brickell’s grandfather’s] accounts are the beating heart of The Cartiers, elevating this from a company story to a human story—one even the unadorned will read with pleasure.”The New York Times Book Review

“[A] hard-to-put-down account of the generations of the Cartiers and the famed jewels of the global dynasty.”Forbes

“Artfully documented . . . The story of the Cartier family is the story of wealth creation in the 19th and 20th centuries as it moved in waves from country to country. . . . Brickell, the granddaughter of Jean-Jacques, has no discernible nostalgia for the lost business, and as a result the book’s real value comes as a chronicle of the global vicissitudes of extreme wealth.”Bloomberg

Selected among “The Best Gifts to Give Your Sister for the Holidays”Harper’s Bazaar

“A thoroughly researched and enjoyable family business history that should appeal to history buffs and lovers of high-end fashion and jewelry alike.”Library Journal

“In glittering . . . prose, Francesca Cartier Brickell excavates lost family archives and shares with us how three brothers turned a small Parisian ship into a worldwide icon of love and luxury. Part family story, part jewelry-lover’s dream, part history—this gem . . . of a book will have a little something for everyone.”LitHub

“[A] fascinating history written by a scion of Louis-Francçois Cartier . . . With diplomacy, artistry, originality, and a clear love of their work, the saga of the three Cartier brothers and their descendants is as lush as their jewels.”Read It Forward

“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 . . . proffers a very detailed and somewhat intimate story of the Cartiers. . . . 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.”New York Journal of Books

“An enchanting jewel of a book.”—Douglas Smith, author of Former People: The Final Days of the Russian Aristocracy

“Four generations of genius, glamour, and ambition are laid bare in Francesca Cartier Brickell’s behind-the-scenes account of the Cartier family. Part social history, part affectionate memoir, The Cartiers is a pleasurable stroll through the glittering byways of a more elegant age.”—Amanda Foreman, New York Times bestselling author of A World on Fire

“Francesca Cartier Brickell skillfully traces her family’s astounding history through the contents of a weathered suitcase found in her grandfather’s cellar. The result is a fascinating account of the Cartier brothers and the creation of this iconic and enduring luxury brand.”—André Leon Talley, bestselling author of A.L.T.: A Memoir


Product Details
ISBN: 9780525621614
ISBN-10: 052562161X
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: November 26th, 2019
Pages: 656