By  on May 18, 2009

To Frederic de Narp, president and chief executive officer of Cartier North America, an iconic piece at Cartier is about more than just the design.

“Of course an icon is beautiful and timeless, but it is also a piece with an important story and great deal of symbolism behind it,” he says.

This is why the three most recognizable jewelry icons at Cartier — the Trinity, Panther and Love — all bear significant meaning and have been coveted by generations of collectors, admirers and celebrities alike. Here, an inside look at why these three designs have become the icons they are today.


Probably the best-known of Cartier’s iconic designs, the Trinity first appeared in 1924 when the French jeweler designed an interlocking three-banded ring consisting of platinum (a symbol of friendship), rose gold (for love) and yellow gold (for fi delity). While the ring became popular soon after it hit the sales floor, it was the three-band Trinity bracelet, created that same year and purchased first by celebrated American interior decorator Elsie de Wolfe, that really turned heads. Since then, the ring has seen a variety of influential wearers over the years, including Yves Saint Laurent, Jean Cocteau (who famously wore two Trinity rings on one finger), David Bowie and Madonna.

To celebrate its American centennial, Cartier has designed a new Trinity group that is now in store—the Trinity 100 Collection comprises three-ringed bracelets, earrings and rings accented with diamond stars. It also includes an oversize bracelet with pavé diamonds and chain necklaces. The new Trinity line debuted on the runway at Phillip Lim’s show in February. “We wanted to partner with a young, cutting-edge designer for the launch of this modern Trinity collection,” relates de Narp of the choice to show with Lim. “What has come of this is a great partnership.”

NEXT: The Love Collection >>

The Love collection was created in the heart of the Sixties, during the time of Vietnam War protests and catchphrases such as “Make love, not war.” It was this sentiment that sparked the creation of the Love bracelet in 1969, one of the few items created by Cartier in New York. The gold bracelet was designed so the wearer cannot put it on alone. Rather, it must be placed on the wrist and locked with a key by his or her significant other, who then is meant to hold the key.

“Besides the engagement ring, the Love bracelet is seen as the ultimate symbol of love and commitment,” de Narp explains. The modern day Love collection is still based on the original symbol of commitment, but today Cartier aligns itself with a series of charities and celebrities for the annual Love Day, which will take place on June 11 of this year. In 2008, Cartier partnered with eight musicians, including Janet Jackson, the members of Good Charlotte and Emmy Rossum. As in the past, with celebrities such as Salma Hayek and Djimon Hounsou, each is linked to a charity of his or her choice, and a portion of each Love Charity bracelet sale goes to that charity. The charity bracelets are made of silk cord with a gold fob, and the color corresponds to the particular cause. To date, the Love Charity bracelet has raised well over $3 million for various funds.

“It’s our hope that we can entice Americans to give back and become committed to a charity,” de Narp says. “That’s very much in the DNA of Cartier.”

NEXT: Panther >>

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