The Cartiers: The Untold Story of the Family Behind the Jewelry Empire

Talk by Jewelry Historian Francesca Cartier Brickell

Join us for an evening with author, Francesca Cartier Brickell, to immerse yourself in the captivating story of the family behind Cartier, and learn how a humble Parisian jewelry store became a global luxury icon.

The Cartiers is the revealing tale of a jewelry dynasty—four generations, from revolutionary France to the 1970s. At its heart are the three Cartiers 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, will share the story of how, thanks to the contents of a weathered suitcase found in her grandfather’s cellar, she has travelled the world over the last decade researching her family’s illustrious history and the discovery of long-lost pieces of the puzzle along the way.

Thursday, December 5

5PM Reception | 6PM Presentation | 7PM Book Signing


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 firm. After graduating with a degree in English Literature from Oxford University, Francesca had a career in finance as a financial analyst and later a fund manager (Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland). A few years ago, she took the decision to leave her work in the City to focus on her Cartier research and writing.

Francesca’s book on The Cartiers, published by Penguin Random House (Ballantine) is the result of years of the author’s independent research into her family and the business they founded. Based on the memoirs of her grandfather, her family archives and her travels tracing her ancestor’s steps, it tells the very human story of four generations of a family as they struggle to build a successful business against a backdrop of wars, revolution and the Great Depression. Through extensive independent research, combined with a first-hand knowledge of the family and a huge collection of unpublished letters, telegrams and photographs, Francesca is able to share a uniquely personal story.

Francesca is a GIA Accredited Jewelry Professional. She is a member of the Society of Jewelry Historians and has contributed to their publications. She is a sought-after international lecturer on Cartier’s illustrious history and has given talks for major auction houses, museums, and societies all over the world. She lives with her husband and children in London and the South of France.

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