Pursuits

A Cartier Scion Reveals Intriguing Tales About the Family-Built Jewelry House in a New Book

In The Cartiers, a Cartier granddaughter tells tales of Romanov balls and the histories of the world's greatest stones through letters she inherited from her grandfather.
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It was 2009 when Francesca Cartier Brickell was rummaging through her grandfather’s house in the South of France for a rare bottle of wine he had saved for his 90th birthday. Her mission was unsuccessful but what she found in the home of Jean-Jacques Cartier was more valuable than any vintage. Brickell brought back a dilapidating old trunk covered in railway and hotel stickers. Inside it was bundles of letters that contained three generations-worth of correspondences from the Cartier clan, a gift passed on to Brickell’s grandfather from his parents and one that he had presumed missing.

Together with Random House, Brickell released a book she wrote on the family and their connection to the world’s most famous jewels in The Cartiers. It was through these letters that she was able to trace backstories that even her grandfather never knew. It touches on historic events such as the French Revolution and ends with the company’s sale in the ‘70s. The book recounts stories of opulence and grandeur, but also personal tales from the family. In the center of it all were the jewels—priceless diamonds and precious stones that we all have come to associate the family name to today.

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An excerpt published on the New York Times from the book’s introduction reads:

“Here, I realized as I thumbed through the letters, was the story of a family firm that created some of the most revered jewelry pf all time for the world’s biggest names. That single case would, in time, open a window onto opulent Romanov balls, glamorous coronations, and extravagant maharajas’ banquets. Royalty, designers, artists, writers, politicians, socialites, and movie stars would spring to life. I was soon to learn how King Edward VII of England, Grand Duchess Vladimir of Russia, and Coco Chanel featured alongside the Duchess of Windsor, Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, and Queen Elizabeth II in Cartier’s rich history.”

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???????????? alert! THE CARTIERS tells the captivating story of the family behind the Cartier empire while giving readers a behind-the-scenes look at the firm’s most iconic jewelry—the notoriously cursed Hope Diamond, the Romanov emeralds, and the long line of stars who wore them. Author @creatingcartier, 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: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE FAMILY BEHIND THE JEWELRY EMPIRE is out now! #bookstagram #thecartiers #jewelry #cartier #paris #frenchistory #historybook #instabook #newrelease #fallreading #luxuryjewelry

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Brickell went on to inherit her grandfather’s home along with the trunk and the letters she had found on his birthday. Although the jewelry house that the family built now belongs to the Compagnie Financiere Richemont, their beguiling stories are immortalized in Brickell’s book for the world to read.

Buy the book here.

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Hannah Lazatin
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