I’ve already read this book twice and I’m pretty sure that I’ll read it for a third and a fourth time fairly soon … I love to read about successful people’s journeys, particularly when they are successful in the field I’ve chosen because their stories inspire and motivate me. Naturally, I don’t think I’ll be competition for the Cartiers, but one can indulge in daydream … From the social point of view, of course I’m glad we don’t have (at least in Europe) such large gaps between classes at this time (and please don’t kill me for expressing this opinion!). Here, one doesn’t have to be blue-blooded – it’s possible achieve success and a comfortable livelihood through work and entrepreneurship. But from the professional point of view, I’m so sad that today we don’t see as many beautiful and opulent jewels of the kinds that trendsetters used to flaunt during the eras of royalty and aristocracy.

I don’t even have to tell you how annoyed I am at seeing Cipullo-style nail jewellery, including knockoffs, worn by people who don’t seem to appreciate the design’s history. If I were rich enough to be able to purchase the full diamond nail or the Love Bracelet I would treat myself with something that I knew was original and unique. Ultimately, I would love to own some pieces of Cartier jewellery from the period when it was still a family-owned brand. Ideally, they would be pieces created under one of the Cartier brothers: Louis, Pierre or Jacques :) Unfortunately, like many family-owned businesses, even Cartier was eventually sold by the family to an investment company, and then later by that one to another …


This book takes you into the beautiful world of top-quality gemstones, and you’ll see how the most expensive jewels are exchanged for mansions at the best addresses. You’ll meet maharajas, princesses, queens, and courtesans on these pages … Everything is polished, sparkling and shouting out “style, wealth, and life with all its ups and downs”. I also admire how “pure” the Cartiers remained as people. They were devoted Catholics, and that, in my opinion, was the reason why they were kind to other people, humble, loyal, and scandal-free (you can find a few minor exceptions, but still I think their public “scandals” were rather lovely instead of sordid). Money and success did not tarnish their morals.

Let’s also not neglect the author – Francesca Cartier Brickell – without whom this story would have been forgotten. Perhaps it was destiny or some supernatural power that brought her to the right place at the right moment to find a special suitcase filled with family memories that revealed what a treasure she had in her own family. Francesca is a granddaughter of the last Cartier who owned Cartier as a brand: Mr. Jean-Jacques Cartier. I love to follow her on her Instagram, where you can see how she traces the imprints of her ancestors’s footsteps all around the world. For example, you can follow her to old palaces in India where maharajas collaborated with Jacques Cartier on the design of new royal jewels. Other days, you can spot her learning how divers dive into the depths of the sea to collect perfect natural pearls. Natural pearls … they’re another obsolete item in our times, when almost nobody cares if they have artificial or natural pearls. Without any further commentary, this is simply a fact.

I could write about this book for hours, but a better use of my time and yours would be if you went to read it yourself. You’ll be inspired with a new respect for the name of Cartier. Today, we usually see this brand as an epitome of luxury and a mere status symbol. However, after reading this book I gained respect for the name Cartier because of the history and real people’s stories behind it. The book conveys the sense of what kind of family business it once was before it became the huge international conglomerate it is now. It’s the nostalgia of the old times which will never come back that made me fall in love. It’s just like the habit of drinking Coca Cola or buying Apple gadgets even though its visionary is long dead. Even today, there are people who are commissioning couture jewelry with Cartier and continuing the legacy of the high craftsmanship of the Cartier house rather than just purchasing those simple, mass-produced “fashionable” objects that show off status rather than style or a taste for real luxury. There are still maharajas, rich heiresses, queens, and princesses in the world, and I believe there is still real Cartier design work going on at a more discreet level.

You can purchase the book here:
Follow Francesca Cartier Brickell here:
Source of jewellery images: Cartier Pinterest

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