Few shoppers in central London will have failed to notice the multilevels of scaffolding and builders bustling about on Bond Street recently. The Mayfair bright spot is in the midst of an exuberant facelift, with high-jewellery houses such as Bulgari, Dior, Van Cleef & Arpels and De Grisogono all having unveiled gleaming new façades and upsized spaces in the past nine months. Now Cartier too has kicked off a refurb of its premises – which for the venerable maison is part of a larger, global retail revamp.
The maison is fresh from debuting a South Korea flagship in June, and before its London home officially reopens, it will be cutting the red ribbon on two other historic boutiques come September. Both its New York and Tokyo flagships have been luxuriously expanded and redesigned, with exclusive jewellery pieces to mark the occasions.
The New York flagship opens first on Monday September 12 after two and a half years of work and, at quadruple the size, is Cartier’s largest ever renovation. Expanding from 800sq m over two floors to 4,100sq m over four, the redesigned property stocks Cartier’s full range of jewellery and watches, alongside an entire workshop level for resident gemologists, polishers and watchmakers. The Fifth Avenue space is the vision of architect Thierry Despont, who has also created 35 unique furniture styles for the boutique and acquired 110 antiques, chosen in tandem with Cartier’s heritage department. Other highlights include the ground floor’s Panthère Hall, with a bespoke lacquer panel created by local studio Midavaine.
The midtown property was purchased in 1917 by Pierre Cartier in an unlikely trade: a $1m pearl necklace and $100 in cash for the then private residence. In homage to his historic swap – and also the boutique’s 100th anniversary next year – Cartier has created the magnificent Satiny necklace, earring and ring suite (price on request), featuring 217 natural pearls of over 600ct. The pieces took two decades to source and hand-match.
Over in Tokyo, on Wednesday September 28 Cartier will open the doors on its refurbished Ginza boutique – a two-year-long makeover that sees the space nearly double in size to 1,500sq m. First opened in 2003, the four-storey property has a two-tiered design, with the lower floors a nod to the earthy granite tones found at Cartier’s Paris flagship on Rue de la Paix, and Japanese screen and woodcut motifs on the upper floors. The interiors come courtesy of Bruno Moinard, a 15-year Cartier collaborator who is behind 340 of its boutiques to date.
Marking the opening will be some 40 one-of-a-kind gems from Cartier’s latest Magicien high-jewellery collection (all price on request), which is divided into three strands. “Liberating movement” includes a pair of beautiful, modern-vintage sapphire drop earrings (second picture) and luxe tribal Oracle necklace (first picture), created around three rectangular, round-cornered Colombian emeralds totalling 18.3ct, paired with onyx and kite-shaped and brilliant-cut diamonds.
The “magic of the light” strand includes perhaps the most exciting and directional jewel – the transformable Paillettes Solaires necklace-bracelet (third picture), which glows with citrus tones from the yellow, orange and white diamonds in powerful refracting cuts: rose, brilliant, triangular-shaped briolette and diamond slices topped with a textured crystal-ball pendant. A white gold and carved rock-crystal Illumination cuff (fourth picture) with a detachable 31.16ct diamond that can be worn as a ring is also mesmerising.
Finally, the “more real than nature” thread takes its cue from creatures, most notably in the lively Quetzal bracelet (fifth picture) with two gorgeous sugarloaf rubellites totalling 41.12ct, here paired with edgy black lacquer and white gold.