Just over a century ago, the fantastical story of how Cartier traded an exceptional pearl necklace for a grand Fifth Avenue mansion began. It was 1912 when Pierre Cartier—the grandson of the Cartier founder— started searching for a magnificent location in New York City. For five long years, he looked for a building on a par with Cartier’s glorious rue de la Paix flagship in Paris and London boutique on New Bond Street. When a neo-Renaissance style mansion situated in the heart of Manhattan became available, he knew he had finally found the perfect place.
The jewel-for-a-mansion trade resulted in a joyous ending to the real-life fairy tale. Morton Plant made his wife very happy. Shortly after Mae Plant received the pearls, she posed wearing them for a portrait painted by society artist Alphonse Jongers. Cartier acquired the iconic piece of real estate that has been the flagship in America ever since 1917.
After almost a century, 653 Fifth Avenue is about to celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2017.
On July 14, 1970, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission recognized the importance of the building and designated it an official landmark.
The reopening of the Mansion marks the end of the largest renovation in Cartier’s history. It took a total of two and a half-year to design, conduct interior demolition, reconstruction and decoration. The new Mansion at once preserves the heritage of Cartier in New York and improves the client experience.
Several rooms of the Mansion are inspired by and dedicated to important figures in Cartier’s history.
An oval room on the second floor named the Princess Grace Salon where the ballroom was once located is devoted to diamonds and Grace Kelly, who received a Cartier engagement ring from Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1955.
Cartier dedicated the Elizabeth Taylor Salon on the second floor to the ultimate in High Jewelry creations.
In recognition of Cartier’s illustrious 169-years of watchmaking, the entire third floor is devoted to timepieces for men and women. The feminine space has a light palette on the walls, columns, draperies and mirrors. Men’s watches are positioned in the middle of the floor in a room with cerused oak walls embellished with moldings and mirrors named the Andy Warhol Salon.
There is a men’s watch lounge named after the great Brazilian aviator Santos Dumont, who inspired Louis Cartier to create the world’s first modern watch in 1904 specifically designed to be worn on the wrist.
The fine watchmaking Gary Cooper Salon has a minimal masculine décor of tobacco-colored leather walls and red leather armchairs. It is intended to serve as a strong backdrop to the most exclusive and complicated timepieces featured in the area.
While clients will have the luxurious feeling of being in an early twentieth century home, they will also enjoy twenty-first century technological amenities. In advance of a visit to the Mansion they can make an appointment at cartier.com with a sales associate for a specific meeting time.