The archives, stored in Paris, London and New York, list the pieces produced by Cartier from the beginning in a collection of supremely accurate, precious books that provide an account of our Maison’s daily activities. Every creation is documented, from the workshops through to its sale.
In Paris in particular, the heritage collection has remained intact, is almost entirely complete and dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. These elements are complemented by a wealth of photographs, as all pieces completed in the workshops since 1906 have been photographed before being shipped. The Paris collection includes almost 40,000 negatives, 30,000 of which are on gelatin-bromide glass plates. A collection of plaster casts dating from between 1905 and 1915, also kept in Paris, provide a three-dimensional display of the life of the workshops.
The archive department houses an important bank of images, preparatory drawings, sketches and finished designs. They provide an important illustration of the creative process. The “ideas” are set out in quick sketches, often in pen, and are then grouped together in notebooks. Studies, based on architectural notes or a collection of ornaments, enable the various sources of inspiration to be assembled.