Cartier is one of the world’s most prestigious jewelers. The French company has designed, created, distributed and sold luxury jewelry and watches since 1847. That’s the year that the company was founded in Paris, France by Louis-Francois Cartier. Cartier soon established itself among the jewelers of royalty and celebrities. Today there are 200 Cartier stores in 125 countries. The main headquarters is located in Paris with branches in London and New York City. Pierre Cartier led the company during the early twentieth century when he established the New York City branch in the mansion once owned by United States railroad tycoon Henry Plant’s son Morton Freeman Plant located at 653 Fifth Avenue. Following his death in 1964, the Cartier remained in the family until 1972 when the sons and daughter of Pierre and brothers Jean-Jacque and Louis sold Cartier to Robert Hocq and his investors. Cartier’s motto became “Les Must de Cartier” (Cartier, Its’s a Must). Today Cartier is owned by the Richemont group, a South African company run by the Rupert Family, and Pierre Cartier’s granddaughter Elle Pagels. Throughout its history, Cartier has created some of the most stunning and expensive jewelry in the world.
1. Hutton-Mdivani Jadeite Cartier Necklace – $27.4 Million
This beautiful historic Cartier necklace sold several years ago at Sotheby’s “Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite Spring Sale” for $27.4 million. The extravagant necklace features 27 large Qing Jadeite beads. Each valuable stone has vivid green translucent hues with very fine texture. The large beads range in size from 19.2 mm to 15.4 mm. The Jade necklace has a clasp made with diamond, ruby, gold and platinum. The necklace is steeped in mystery. It is believed it was created during the 18th Century for members of the Japanese royal Imperial Court. What is known is that Cartier acquired the necklace and it was given to the American heiress to the Woolworth fortune Barbara Hutton on her wedding day in 1933 by her father Franklin Laws Hutton on her wedding day. Hutton married Russian refugee Prince Alexis Mdivani. The couple would sadly divorce but Hutton was close with Alexeis’ niece, Princess Nina Mdivani and would pass the Jadeite Cartier necklace on to her.
2. La Peregrina Cartier Necklace – $11.8 Million
La Peregrina is considered the world’s most symmetrical pear shaped pearl. Called the “Wandering Pearl”, La Peregrina had a long history before ending up in the hands of Cartier to create a necklace for its then owner, Elizabeth Taylor. The 55 carat pearl is believed to have been discovered off the coast of Panama in the sixteenth century and ended up in the hands of Spanish royalty. King Phillip II of Spain gifted the pearl to Queen Mary I of England. Upon her death, Queen Elizabeth I returned the pearl to the Spanish Court. The magnificent pearl would end up in Joseph Napoleon’s hands and he would return it to England as a gift to Duchess Louisa Hamilton. In 1969 La Peregrina was purchased by English actor Richard Burton who gave it to his bride, Elizabeth Taylor, as a Valentine’s Day gift. Elizabeth is responsible for commissioning Cartier to create a necklace featuring La Peregrina. The necklace showcases the 55 carat pearl as a pendant style necklace filled with beautiful diamonds.
3. The Patiala Cartier Necklace – $3.16 Million +
The De Beers 73 carat yellow diamond featured in The Patiala Necklace is worth $3.16 million. This diamond was commissioned to made into a necklace by Cartier for India’s Maharaja Bhupinder Singh in 1928. The diamond was surrounded by multiple chains featuring large diamonds. There were a total of 2,930 diamonds on the chains including the De Beers yellow diamond and six other large diamonds ranging in size from 18 to 73 carats. The Maharaja was known for his expensive taste in luxurious jewels which he gifted to his many wives. The Patiala, he wore himself. It is featured in many photographs of the Maharaja. When India became an independent nation in 1948, The Patiala and many of the royal jewels went missing. In 1988 an employee of Cartier discovered the De Beers yellow diamond in a second hand jewelry shop in London. Cartier was able to recreate The Patiala using the famed large De Beers yellow diamond.
4. The Patiño Cartier Necklace – $10.2 Million
The Patiño necklace features high quality emeralds and diamonds. Simõn Iturrio Patiño was a Columbian mine owner who lived from 1860 to 1947. He produced over 60% of the world’s tin output. He also was fond of rare gemstones. He unearthed some of the most beautiful emeralds including the one that would be made into the “Andean Cross” that would grace The Patiño necklace by House of Cartier. Cartier acquired the rare emerald cross from Queen Victoria Eugenie of Spain and created The Patiño necklace in 1937. The Art Deco style necklace features 20 clear white diamonds totaling 60 carats and 12 high quality beautifully cut emeralds totaling 100 carats. The necklace is 45 cm and honors the religious and royal themes of the Andean Cross emerald that the other valuable gems surround.
5. The Imperial Emerald of the Grand Duchess Vladimir – $3.5 Million
The large emerald featured in this necklace designed by Cartier originated in the Russian Imperial Collection where it remained for a century. The 107.67 square cut emerald was a prized possession as part of Catherine the Great’s emerald collection. When Tsar Alexander II acquired the collection, he gifted the precious emerald to his son Duke Boris’ fiancée in 1847. The emerald was cherished by the Grand Duchess Vladimir who loved to show it off. Following the Russian Revolution, the Grand Duchess smuggled her jewels to her son Grand Duke Boris who was living in exile in London. The Grand Duchess fled Russia to Venice in 1920. In 1927 the Grand Duke sold the valuable gem to Cartier. Cartier remounted the emerald onto a diamond soutoir style necklace. On the advice of dealer Raphael Esmerion, Cartier recut the emerald into a 75.63 carat pear shape in 1954 to increase the emerald’s clarity. The necklace was purchased by John D. Rockefeller Jr. Esmerion purchased the necklace in 1971. The necklace was purchased by a private collector from a Christie’s auction in Geneva for $3.5 million.