The Most Iconic Cartier Diamond Necklace Styles

The Most Iconic Cartier Diamond Necklace Styles

Discover the history behind the most famous Cartier diamond necklace designs and learn how each style secured a place at the pinnacle of High Jewelry and fashion history.
Discover the history behind the most famous Cartier diamond necklace designs and learn how each style secured a place at the pinnacle of High Jewelry and fashion history.

A Brief History of Cartier

Founded in Paris in 1847 by Louis-François Cartier, Cartier quickly rose to prominence in the early 20th century under the leadership of his three ambitious sons: Louis in Paris, Pierre in New York, and Jacques in London. Renowned for their visionary designers like Charles Jacqueau and Pierre Lemarchand, and the charismatic creative director Jeanne Toussaint, Cartier crafted unique and elegant jewels that captured the essence of their times. Since the founding of the house in 19th-Century Paris, Cartier has strived for innovation and excellence to underpin each line, whether in fashion-forward wearable pieces for everyday, or the finest examples of High Jewelry to grace magazine covers and red carpets, worn by stars from Grace Kelly to Gwyneth Paltrow.

The Cartier Panthère necklace

Perhaps the most recognisable motif the House’s history, the Panthère remains the most sought-after design for collectors and aficionados of the brand. The design was originally conceived by Jeanne Toussaint when she spotted a panther whilst on safari with Louis Cartier in the early 1900s. He nicknames her “Petite Panthère” in reference to the full-length panther coat she would often wear. She experimented with the design with over several years, and finally made the first three-dimensional version as a brooch commission for the Duke of Windsor in 1948.

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The Cartier Hypnose necklace

Featuring an intricate spiral design, this masterpiece is adorned with an array of dazzling diamonds, meticulously set to create a mesmerizing hypnotic effect. The 'Hypnose' necklace showcases Cartier's ability to blend timeless sophistication with contemporary artistry, making it a coveted piece for collectors and a symbol of luxury and refinement.

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The Cartier LOVE diamond necklace

The trademark LOVE screw and lock motif was created in 1969, and has served as symbol of romance ever since. A favourite gift for weddings, anniversaries and, well, just because. Available in gold, white gold, platinum and rose gold, diamonds are often introduced to elevate and upgrade the more understated hardware version for a special occasion.

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Cartier Diamond Love Necklace
Cartier, white gold and diamond 'LOVE' necklace.

The Cartier Tutti Frutti Necklace

American socialite, Daisy Fellowes – described as ‘best dressed woman in the world’ by Parisian couturiers such as Chanel and Lanvin – was a key advocate for Cartier and her famous Hindu Necklace was made for her in 1936. It comprised diamonds, sapphires, emeralds and rubies in the form of leaves or berries. These organic forms in distinctive colours soon gathered an army of collectors eager to secure their own design using this combination of vibrant stones. The most expensive Cartier jewelry sold by Sotheby's in 2023 was a dramatic Cartier Tutti Frutti set including a necklace and clip earrings for over $3.3 million or 25,860,000 HKD. Today, a wide range of Cartier Tutti Frutti pieces can be purchased at different price points, both at auction and for immediate sale.

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Famous Fans of Cartier Necklaces

From royalty to Hollywood stars, to understated, anonymous buyers – the name ‘Cartier’ is the last word elegance and style in the field of High Jewelry. It evokes images of The Duchess of Windsor draped in custom made pieces from Jeanne Toussaint, gifted to her throughout her marriage to the Duke of Windsor (in fact it has been said she reinvigorated the brand’s image through her patronage in the 1930s) – and even her engagement ring was an 19.77-carat rectangular emerald flanked by diamond baguettes.

Daisy Fellowes in her Cartier 'Tutti Frutti' Hindu necklace, 1936.

To complement the rings and brooches the Duchess frequently wore, she had a collection of exquisite necklaces she would wear to society events, balls and appearances, each more impressive than the last. Of particular note was an amethyst, turquoise, and diamond 'bib' necklace commissioned by the Duke of Windsor in 1947, offered in the sale of Jewels from the Collection of the Duchess of Windsor at Sotheby’s in Geneva in 1987.

Reese Witherspoon attends the 28th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in a Cartier diamond necklace.

Fast forward to the present day, and stars from Sienna Miller, Rihanna and Duchess of Cambridge have key piece in their collections. From the Tank and Callon Bleu watches, to the red carpet ready showstopping necklaces that make headlines from the Academy Awards and Grammys, Cartier jewelry is a celebrity favourite. With brand ambassadors propelling these creations on to the front page of newspapers the world over, Cartier remains the foremost creator of, and the by-word for the ultimate in High Jewelry style.

What should you consider when buying a diamond necklace?

It’s important to know what to look for when selecting a piece to invest in. Sure, they most likely won’t go out of style, but choose a piece that immediately speaks to you and excites you to wear, and you won't regret the purchase of an exceptional necklace. Provenance is important, so ask questions about the origin of the piece, who designed it and when. It goes without saying that a previous famous owner will increase the value of an item of jewelry, but the magic is increased if it has a story to tell. Similarly, if you are thinking of selling a piece of jewelry in future, make sure you keep hold of any certificates of authenticity and the sale invoice. This will make selling on your Cartier piece much easier.

The 4 Cs

The Duchess of Windsor wearing an amethyst, turquoise cabochons and brilliant-cut diamond 'bib' necklace, designed by Cartier in 1947.

The 4 Cs are a global standard diamond certification developed by the GIA. These four criteria are colour, clarity, cut and carat, which determine the quality and therefore value of a diamond. The weight of a diamond is measured worldwide by a standard unit: the carat. The name “carat” comes from the seed of the carob tree native to Mediterranean regions, once used to weigh stones. A carat weighs 0.2 grams.

The colour scale begins with the letter D, representing colourless, and continues with increasing presence of yellow, brown or grey to the letter Z. Each letter grade has a clearly defined range of colour appearance. Clarity refers to the absence of inclusions and blemishes, ranging from “Flawless” to “Included 3” for diamonds with obvious visible inclusions. A diamond’s cut is what unleashes its light. The GIA calculates the proportions of those facets that influence the diamond’s face-up appearance to evaluate how successfully a diamond interacts with light to create desirable visual effects . The cut scale ranges from “Excellent” to “Poor”.

Whether you prefer an understated, low-key diamond chain necklace or want to dial up the glamour, there are styles —both newly released and vintage— to suite every taste and occasion. There are several ways to buy Cartier diamond necklaces at Sotheby's. From an extensive calendar of jewelry auctions in New York, Geneva, Paris, and Hong Kong through to our marketplace platform that offers incredible jewels for immediate purchase. If you have a Cartier diamond necklace to sell, you can contact a Jewelry Specialist who can help and advise you on your selling options.

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