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The Cartier Brothers

Though Pierre Cartier (1878-1964) is perhaps the most well-known member of the Cartier family, his brothers Jacques and Louis also played integral roles in the success of their family jewelry business.

Cartier was founded in Paris in 1847 by Louis-Francois Cartier, the grandfather of Louis, Pierre, and Jacques. The company took off in 1898 when Louis, the eldest of the three brothers, joined his father, Alfred, in the family business. Louis (1875-1942) traveled extensively through the Middle East and India to conduct business for the company and to study the cultures of these regions. Louis and his brothers were especially influenced by Indian designs, using them often in jewelry pieces such as tiaras and aigrettes.

Cartier opened a London branch in 1902 and began introducing avant-garde designs in jewelry that combined Oriental and Art Deco styles, as well as dealing in large, historically significant diamonds and emeralds. Their clientele included royalty from many countries and a growing number of wealthy Americans, such as J.P. Morgan, Cornelius Vanderbilt, and Evalyn Walsh McLean, leading to the opening of the New York branch office in 1909 (Kurin 2006).

Alfred Cartier (second from right) is joined by his three sons, Jacques, Louis, and Pierre in 1910

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