Cartier Goes Square for Trinity Centenary

HIP TO BE SQUARE: To celebrate the 100th anniversary of its Trinity design, Cartier has remade this bestselling icon — into a cushion-shaped ring.

It is one of three new variations, with seven models spanning rings to necklaces already released, that kick off a year of celebrations for the French jeweler.

The idea of touching this seminal Cartier design “seemed almost laughable, an impossible feat,” for director of watchmaking and jewelry design Marie-Laure Cérède. “But the challenge intrigued us.”

For the cushion-shaped version, the Cartier team worked in terms of volume, rather than a sketched outline, to keep to Trinity’s tactile approach, she revealed. Most striking is the way the result keeps the smooth interplay of metal of its original despite the rounded square shape.

Rounding out the celebratory set is a reissue of the bracelet, a maximalist take on the design, first purchased by American decorator Elsie de Wolfe.

This comes down to Louis Cartier, who “always cultivated the idea of essential shapes,” said Pierre Rainero, the jeweler’s image, style and heritage director. Although legend has it the Trinity ring came into existence at the behest of French artist Jean Cocteau, it was the third-generation scion who created the model in 1924.

Louis Cartier had “a very modern eye on the world of jewelry in general” and staunchly believed jewels needed to become familiar objects rather than occasional adornments, without a notion of price, Rainero said.

In the expert’s opinion, Trinity’s emergence also can be read in parallel with the birth of watchmaking, appearing at a moment where legibility, comfort and daily wear became paramount.

Immediately successful, the three-ring jewel has since been spotted on famous faces of different eras, ranging from Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly and Princess Diana, to French president Emmanuel Macron and Kylie Jenner, recently spotted wearing it early into her romance with Timothée Chalamet.

What kept the Trinity line in Cartier’s offer over the decades is that memorable as the model is, it proved to be surprisingly adaptable with multiple variations over the decades.

Case in point: the six-piece one-off Trinity collection crafted for Sacai’s Chitose Abe, shown on the runway alongside the Japanese label’s fall 2022 offering.

“[Louis Cartier] wrote to Jeanne Toussaint, who succeeded him at the creative helm, that it was a good design because it was a ‘mother-idea’ that could bear variations,” said Rainero, who pointed out the only fixed signature was the inseparable three rings and the playfulness of the finished object.

This Cartier Trinity design nods to a Japanese puzzle of interlocking pieces and reveals a pavé side when its three rings are arranged one way and a smooth band of blending metal in another.

Antoine Pividori/Courtesy of Cartier

Curiosity will no doubt be piqued with what looks like a plain band blending the three metal tones. Playing with this model reveals a puzzle-like interlocked structure that can be worn multiple ways depending on how the elements are arranged, including a three-ring position that reveals diamond pavé angles.

Already available in Asia, this eighth model will make its debut in the U.S., the U.K. and France in February before becoming globally available in March.

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