Cartier was founded in Paris in 1847 by Louis-François Cartier. His three grandsons, Louis, Pierre, and Jacques, built the house into a famous international jewelry empire serving royalty, Hollywood stars, and socialites. Cartier has created some of the most important jewelry and objects of art of the twentieth century with many iconic designs such as mystery clocks, Tutti Frutti jewelry and the Panthère line. In 1983, The Cartier Collection was established with the objective of acquiring important pieces that trace the firm’s artistic evolution. Today, Cartier has 200 stores in 125 countries.
As the art of smoking and tobacco consumption rapidly grew in the early 1900s, so did the demand for chic smoking accessories. Largely replacing tobacco chewing, cigars, and pipe smoking for men, the cigarette became wildly popular for both men and women during World War. Numerous jeweled accouterments were created to stylishly store and accessorize smoking, such as cigarette cases, ashtrays, tabletop boxes, match cases, and lighters. The jewelry house of Cartier, always on the forefront of design and innovation, created many smoking requisites and helped to shape the refinement of smoking. Louis Cartier believed, “We must make it our business to build up our inventory that responds to the mood of the public by producing articles which have a useful function but which are also decorated in the Cartier style.”
This lighter by Cartier is an excellent example of Cartier’s ability to transform ordinary objects into luxurious possessions. Made during the Art Deco era, this lighter is highly modern. The polished yellow gold body forms an oval column then accented by a platinum curved band encrusted with diamonds. The simple use of polished yellow gold without ornament is streamlined and chic, and the band of pave-set diamonds adds texture and intrigue. In this design, Cartier embodied the modern spirit of the early twentieth century while maintaining their distinct classic style.
Often given as gifts of achievement or affection, smoking accouterments were in high demand during the Art Deco period and the legendary jewelry firm Cartier recognized this and provided a wide range of products in various prices. In 1928, Cartier in New York created a color brochure titled For a Luxurious Smoke: Accessories, by Cartier, which cleverly captured the spirit of their desired audience. This lighter by Cartier demonstrates Cartier’s expert craftsmanship and impeccable style and is a highly collectable item from their Art Deco repertoire.