Ornamental Beauty

Fast Lane

Cartier Comes to Prague

King Edward VII described it as “Jeweler of kings, king of jewelers” and ordered 27 tiaras from them for his coronation. For actress Elizabeth Taylor’s 40th birthday, fellow actor Richard Burton gave her a diamond of nearly 70 carats made by these artisans. Now the jeweler of royalty and the famous is coming to Prague.

Cartier opened it’s newest boutique at the end of March on the fashionable corner of Parizska and Staromestske namesti. It’s the latest international luxury goods shop to open in the area; a fact not overlooked by the Cartier team.

“Parizska Street became recently a must-to-be-in location and reference for most of the high luxury brands in the Czech Republic,” says Tom Meggle, Managing Director Cartier Switzerland and Northern Europe. “Cartier being a very high end luxury brand belongs naturally into this prestigious location.”

And the lucrative corner spot on Old Town Square doesn’t hurt either.

“As a brand aware of the value of its tradition we are delighted to be situated in the architectural context and beauty of this historical square in the heart of Prague,” he says.

Located in a 19th century building, reconstruction took about 5 months; but plans to bring Cartier to Prague had been going on much longer.

“We started considering opening a store in Prague in 2000,” explains Meggle. “But only since 2005 we decided to take concrete actions for this important project.”

Prague is the first “eastern” European city to boast such a high-end jeweler, and Meggle has a couple reasons for this.

“Among all Eastern European capitals within our zone, Prague has the greatest potential and maturity concerning luxury goods retail,” he believes. “Parizska Street additionally is the only established luxury shopping street in this part of Europe.”

The iconic brand is coincidentally celebrating its 160th anniversary. In 1847, Louis-Francois Cartier took over a small Paris jewelry shop from his mentor. His son eventually took over the family business and passed it on to his three sons, under whose management the majority of the growth, innovation and expansion occurred. The eldest son Louis-Joseph established the Cartier location on Rue de la Paix, while son Jacques-Theodule brought Cartier to London, and Pierre-Camille took the brand overseas to New York.

The look of “our” Cartier will be similar to new shops opened around the world, and most recently, the Champs Elyses location in Paris. Architect and designer Bruno Moinard has been entrusted with the style of all new Cartier shops and he brought his vision to Prague.

“I wanted to re-establish that atmosphere of extreme preciousness, that sense of being amidst the “haute couture” of jewelry,” he says. “Recovered and renewed here is a certain classic idea of luxury, of fixed and venerated ceremony, and of the art of receiving and entertaining patrons and guests.”

Cartier wants the boutique to have an ambience of the “magic of luxury.” They say this will be achieved through an “alchemy of atmospheres and materials, coloring and lighting.”

The store itself is 170 square meters. The façade features the same gold-veined black marble that fronts the flagship location in Paris. Entering the premises, Moinard desires to provide the visitor a “solemn and intimate moment,” hopefully achieved by a white stone floor, silk curtains and a “monumental” candelabra style lamp. Glass, oak, Moroccan red leather and gold highlights will hopefully provide an elegant backdrop for the real reason to visit the shop: the goods!

Cartier is probably best known for its watches and jewelry, both which will be available at the Prague location, but has a continuously expanding line of perfume, accessories and bags. Meggle has an idea of what will go down good with the Prague crowd.

“In jewelry, our iconic product lines Panthere and Trinity will definitely seduce the clientele,” he predicts. “In terms of watches, our classical designs like the Tank watch (Tank Francaise) or the more sportive Pasha Seatimer or the emblematic Santos 100 could develop into bestsellers in Prague.”

The newer range of Cartier’s products are also quite popular as the company continues its expansion into other product lines, and hopefully it’s continued innovation.

“The novelties of our LOVE collection (jewelry) are extremely successful, but also our new wedding gifts and bridal rings have recorded excellent results,” Meggle says. “In accessories, the seasonal new colors of the extravagant La Dona bag are a must have for the fashion-minded and modern woman.”

But it won’t just be the jewels Cartier hopes to bring to Prague. The company is involved in numerous cultural and community projects and Meggle hopes some of these may be making an appearance here.

“Cartier has over the past 25 years collected and acquired historical, unique and famous pieces of jewelry from the late 19th century to the 1950’s and created the Cartier Collection,” he says. “We intend to bring this collection to Prague very soon.”

Throughout its history Cartier has been creating pieces of jewelry worthy of consideration as art objects, leaving its mark on the present look of design.

“It is our mission to tell Cartier’s multifaceted and fascinating story to the lovers of the brand and to seduce those who are not yet familiar with it,” Meggle says.

So head down to Parizska and get yourself seduced.