The buyer's guide to Cartier

Cartier is one of the world's best-known luxury jewellery brands. Find out how to buy a piece for your own collection.

Cartoer Star Brooch Noonans

A mid-20th century Cartier diamond and pearl clip brooch. It sold at £9500 at Noonans in June 2022.

Founded in Paris by Louis-François Cartier in 1847, Cartier jewellery has long been a favourite of European royalty. For instance in 1902 Edward VII ordered 27 tiaras for his coronation and nicknamed the company “the jeweller of kings and the king of jewellers”.

It now retails from more than 200 shops across 125 countries and is owned by Swiss luxury group Richemont.

Cartier Star Brooch Box Noonans

A mid-20th century Cartier diamond and pearl clip brooch in its box. It sold at £9500 at Noonans in June 2022.

Desirable because…

Some of Cartier’s clients today include royalty and billionaires and its new jewellery and watches can sell for very high prices. The brand oozes class and quality.

For those of us who are not (yet) billionaires the good news is that there is a thriving market in pre-owned Cartier items.

Elaborate jewellery pieces can still fetch hundreds of thousands of pounds at auction, but there is a large number of items at lower price points from watches and jewellery to handbags, pens and decorative items. 

Cartier Feather Brooch SAS

A Cartier gold coral and diamond fern brooch. It sold at £440 at Special Auction Services in May 2022.

Many auction houses hold regular jewellery sales or watches and jewellery sales while others include occasional Cartier items within a bigger general auction.

With a variety of items on offer you will find plenty to suit your budget.

Price range

Condition, age, rarity and provenance (who owned it and where it came from) determine the prices that Cartier items sell for at auction.

Some models of Cartier watches and simple items of Cartier jewellery such as stud earrings can sell for a few hundred pounds at auction.

A leather strapped Tank wristwatch made in the 1980s, for example, sells for around £200-400.

Cartier tank watch 01.jpg

A ladies Cartier Tank watch with case, sold for £420 at Mitchells, Cockermouth in Cumbria in September 2019.

What to look out for

Check the auction house’s lot description. It will typically state whether the item you desire is in working order or needs repair.

The lot description will also usually detail condition issues such as any scratches or missing parts and whether it comes with a box or other documentation.

You can request a condition report from the auctioneer if it is not already in the lot description.

Some auction houses employ a specialist in jewellery and watches who you can contact to discuss your requirements and who will answer your questions.

What to do next

Decide how much you’d like to spend and use the search facility on to find Cartier items coming up for sale. You can filter your search by, among other things, price and by location of the auction house to narrow down your selection.

To research recent prices at auction so you can see how much Cartier sold for you can also try out the Price Guide.

If you are new to bidding check out our guides to buying at auction – it’s easy once you know how.

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