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

In 2009, Francesca Cartier Brickell discovered hundreds of letters saved by generations of the Cartier family in the cellar of the family’s home in the south of France, transforming her understanding of her family. There were missives about commissions for King Edward VII, Grand Duchess Vladimir of Russia, Coco Chanel, the Duchess of Windsor, Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly and Queen Elizabeth. There were birth announcements and telegrams after someone had died, love letters and homesick letters and airmail envelopes thick with pages detailing business pitfalls and successes, outlining strategies and offering advice. It was correspondence that the family believed was lost forever, and it launched Francesca on a decade-long quest to put together the missing pieces of her family’s history. She tracked down family archives in St. Louis and Tokyo; deciphered ancient gravestones; trekked through sapphire mines; met with pearl sheikhs from the Persian Gulf and jewelry dealers from Sri Lanka. The result is THE CARTIERS: The Untold Story of the Family Behind the Jewelry Empire (to be published in November), upon which Francesca’s lecture is based. She will give us a behind-the-scenes look at the firm’s most iconic jewelry and the long line of stars from the worlds of fashion, film, and royalty who wore them. She will present a compelling family story, a saga of three brothers, Louis, Pierre and Jacques, who turned their grandfather’s humble Parisian jewelry store one of the world’s most famous luxury businesses.

Additional support for New York lectures is generously provided by Thomas and Patricia Bain, Dr. Leonora Ballinger, Virginia Brody, Mr. Albert Messina and Mr. Ken Jennings, Linda Pedro, Stephanie Speakerman, The Stoddart Family, John and Phillis Warden, Mr. William Lee Younger, and an Anonymous donor

Desk Clock. La Collection Privee

Francesca Cartier Brickell © Sam Irons

Francesca Cartier Brickell © Sam Irons

Francesca Cartier Brickell

International Lecturer on Cartier’s History

Francesca Cartier Brickell is a graduate in English literature from Oxford University, and a direct descendant of the Cartier family. She is a sought-after international lecturer on Cartier’s illustrious history, and has given talks for major auction houses, museums, and societies. She lives with her husband and children between London and the South of France.

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Thursday, December 12 | 6:15 p.m.
Reception & book signing following lecture


The General Society Library
20 West 44th Street


$30 members; $40 non-members

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