As part of the European Heritage Days and on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of its creation, the Institut Joaillerie Cartier opened its doors for the first time. It was an exceptional opportunity for curious amateurs of the jewelry to introduce them to the House’s excellent know-how. Today, I would like to take you back to this fabulous and memorable experience, in which I had the pleasure of participating in preview.
Since its creation in 1847, Cartier has been committed, as a responsible jeweler, to transmitting and perpetuating its know-how while developing new skills while respecting traditions of excellence. The transmission of jewelry culture is the watchword of the leader of fine jewelry. This is how the House created the Institut Joaillerie Cartier in 2002. This approach underlines Cartier’s desire to be the initiator of concrete responses to the challenges and developments that drive the jewelry professions, while honoring the values of the House. In 2016, the institute moved into a mansion dating from the 18th century, located in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, in the heart of the historic district of Parisian jewelry. It is therefore at the Hotel Pinsot that the visit begins.
The discovery journey has been designed to help people understand and pass on what is at the heart of the House’s passion: know-how. It revolves around an immersion in the manufacturing process, an overview of the art of glyptic and an introduction to the crafts of jewelry.First I visited the jewelry workshop in virtual reality to discover all the stages of production of a piece of jewelry. Then I entered the heart of the workshop and was able to observe the work of the jewelers, lapidaries, setters and polishers. At the time of my visit, a rock crystal ring was being repaired and the pearls for a high jewelry necklace were being assembled.
On the 2nd floor is the glyptic workshop, the art of sculpting fine and hard stones. This profession, which has become rare, has appeared on Cartier’s palette of expertise since 2010. Indeed, thanks to the Master of Art Philippe Nicolas, his know-how is transmitted to new generations and the profession of glyptician is perpetuated.
On the top floor and to end my visit, I participated in a hands-on experience at the workbench. Surprised but enthusiastic, I lent myself to the game and took the place for an introduction to crimping supervised by the workshop foreman. Equipped with a handpiece and a vice on which my jewel was fixed, I worked the seat of the stone in the metal using a ball milling cutter. It is not without difficulty that I tried to carry out this task, because the precise and meticulous gestures necessary are acquired with experience. However, I took great pleasure in putting myself in the shoes of a setter.
The unfolding of its open doors organized crescendo in the discoveries and experiences, as well as the pleasant company of the artisans, makes this morning a rich and unforgettable moment. A big thank you to Cartier for this invitation and I hope that this initiative will be renewed regularly in order to trigger future vocations