The Most Iconic Cartier Pieces of All Time
Cartier is one of those names—if not *the* name—that’s just synonymous with sophistication and timeless elegance. There’s an overwhelming allure behind the most iconic Cartier pieces that transcend the test of time—and most would say they’re even magic. (Hence the brand’s slogan of “Magic in Every Red Box.”)
Throughout Cartier’s historical legacy, many of their pieces have become wear-forever staples on the arms of luxury lovers worldwide. Most notably, the world-famous Cartier LOVE Collection, the Juste un Clou bracelet—commonly referred to as the brand’s iconic “Nail Bracelet”—as well as the brand’s exquisitely crafted Panthère collection of watches. Just to name a few.
Here are some of the most iconic jewelry pieces made by Cartier, and a bit about the story behind each piece.
Cartier’s Royal Beginnings
Cartier was founded by Louis-Fancois Cartier back in 1847 in Paris, with the first boutique opening 12 years later in 1859. Later, Louis gave control of the business to his three sons at the turn of the century and quickly became a go-to jeweler for European royal families. Cartier remained a family business for over 100 years, when they became a part of the luxury goods group Richemont (who also owns Van Cleef & Arpels and Montblanc to this day).
A true trailblazer in the luxury jewelry realm, Cartier has been credited with being the first jewelry house to make the wristwatch popular for men and the first jeweler to use platinum, marking two incredibly significant milestones in the evolution of jewelry.
Today, there are over 200 Cartier boutiques in 125 countries (30 of which are in the US, including the flagship boutique on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan).
Cartier LOVE Bracelet
First on our list is the Cartier LOVE Bracelet—a masterpiece that transcends trends. Much more than what it might look like on the surface (a simple gold bangle), there’s a lot of history and meaning behind the design’s distinctive screw motifs and sleek design.
Originally intended to be worn by men and women, Aldo Cipullo first conceptualized the design in the brand’s New York studio in 1969. Legend has it that at first, you couldn’t buy a LOVE Bracelet for yourself—it had to be gifted to you by a partner or loved one. Now, of course, anyone can purchase and wear a Cartier LOVE Bracelet, whether directly from the brand or from authenticated luxury resale platforms like The RealReal.
Now, the brand comes in many iterations, including rose gold, ones with diamond accents, and beyond—but regardless of which style you opt for, the Cartier LOVE Bracelet is, hands down, one of the most sought-after (and most searched-for) pieces of jewelry in the world.
Cartier Juste un Clou Bracelet
Also designed by Aldo Cipullo, the “Nail Bracelet”—formally known as the Juste un Clou—made its first appearance in the ‘70s, featuring unconventional nail-inspired accents and a unique wrap-around fit. Immediately following the success of the LOVE Bracelet, the Juste un Clou reflects the designer’s affinity for hardware and bold designs within his belief that beauty can be found everywhere—even in everyday items like nuts, bolts, and screws.
Since then, the Juste un Clou has become a full Cartier collection with different variations of the style available in rings, earrings, and necklaces as well.
Cartier LOVE Ring
The Cartier LOVE Ring perfectly complements its sister bracelet, with different variations of metals, diamond accents, and sizes available. (Aptly, there’s even a wedding band version of the LOVE Ring.) Contrary to the LOVE Collection’s original iteration, social media users today tout the ring in particular as a symbol of self-love, too—purchasing it for themselves after a milestone or special occasion.
Regardless of whether you wear it to symbolize romantic or self-love (or, neither—it’s okay to just love the style!), the LOVE Ring is undoubtedly an iconic piece of jewelry from Cartier that stands the test of time.
Cartier Juste un Clou Ring
You guessed it: The Cartier Juste un Clou Ring is just like the bracelet, with the same nail-inspired silhouette. Also available in gold, rose gold or platinum and with or without pavé diamonds, the ring is bold and beautiful enough to stand out on its own, but can also be perfectly paired with the matching bracelet.
The Juste un Clou style is available in variations of earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and even brooches.
Credited with making wristwatches popular among men, Cartier timepieces are a huge part of the brand’s offerings—and absolutely stand the test of time. (No pun intended.)
The Cartier Santos Watch
The first Cartier watch debuted in 1904 and was designed by Louis Cartier as an alternative to a pocket watch for well-known aviator, Alberto Santos-Dumont. Until this time, watches weren’t commonly worn by men, if at all. Since the Santos was the brand’s debut timepiece, the style is a favorite of collectors today.
The Cartier Tank Watch
The bestselling Cartier Tank Watch—or the Tank de Cartier Collection—is known for being the first-ever unisex watch, and one of the first bracelet watch models ever made. Over the past century, there’ve been countless variations of the watch—but almost all of them remain true to the Roman numeral time markers and signature square or rectangular casing of the original design. And did we mention it was Princess Diana’s signature timepiece?
The Cartier Panthère Watch
We can’t talk about iconic Cartier timepieces without including the Panthère, worn by the likes of Anne Hathaway, Dua Lipa, and countless A-list celebrities and royals alike. Loosely based upon the original Santos design, the Panthère made its debut in 1983, and was reimagined again in 2017. (If it weren’t obvious, the Panthère Collection gets its name from the panther—aka, the signature emblem of the House of Cartier.)
In general, most watches within the Panthère Collection share similar features including square cases and dials, black Roman numeral markings, quartz movement and glamorous, flexible bracelets with five rows of links intertwined for a cohesive look.
Cartier Trinity Ring
The Trinity Ring, also known as the Trinity de Cartier Ring, first debuted in 1924—and has since become symbolic of relationships that last an eternity. With different color and size variations now available, the original Trinity Ring featured a white gold, yellow gold and rose gold band intertwined in an infinity-style design. According to the brand, the white gold symbolizes friendship, yellow gold symbolizes fidelity in marriage, and rose gold represents true love.
The Trinity style has evolved into its own collection and is available in chain-link bracelets, corded bracelets, pendant necklaces, earrings, and bangle styles.
Whether you’re looking to treat yourself with a timeless timepiece or get a symbol of love for a partner, you simply can’t go wrong with Cartier—the brand that’s been making LOVE its biggest statement for more than a century.