The Cartiers

The Untold Story of the Family Behind the Jewellery Empire

Francesca Cartier Brickell

Published by Ballantine Books, Penguin Random House in Hardback (£19.99) on 26-11-2019

The story of the family behind Cartier and the three brothers who turned their grandfather’s humble Parisian jewellery store into a global luxury icon—told by a descendant with exclusive access to long-lost family archives.

The Cartiers is the revealing tale of a jewellery dynasty-four generations, from revolutionary France to the 1960s. 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 jewellery.

Francesca Cartier Brickell, whose great-grandfather was the youngest of the brothers, has travelled 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 jewellery-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.

  • “A dynamic group biography studded with design history and high-society dash…[Ms Cartier Brickell’s] meticulous, elegantly wrought narrative bears the Cartier hallmark.”

    The Economist

  • “The tale of a clan united in single-minded dedication to the success of their enterprise with walk on parts from the world’s most glamorous princesses, heiresses and maharajas… Ms Cartier Brickell has done her grandfather proud”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “The story of the family’s rise from simple artisans to originators, creators, super salesmen and friends to the rich and famous is extraordinary.”

    The Spectator

  • “Francesca Cartier Brickell’s art of weaving the [personal and historical] together…show her mastery as a born storyteller with quite a tale to tell.”


  • “The story of the Cartier jewellery family is as fascinating – and racy – as the women who’ve worn its famous gems.”

    You Magazine

  • “Can’t Afford a Shopping Spree at Cartier? This Book Is the Next Best Thing… a human story — one even the unadorned will read with pleasure.”

    New York Times Book Review

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