Founded in Paris, France, in 1847 by Louis-François Cartier, the company remained under family control until 1964. The company maintains its headquarters in Paris, although it is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Compagnie Financière Richemont SA.
Cartier is well known for its jewelry and wristwatches, including the "Bestiary" (best illustrated by the Panthère brooch of the 1940s created for Wallis Simpson), the diamond necklace created for Bhupinder Singh the Maharaja of Patiala, and the "Santos" wristwatch of 1904.
Cartier has a long history of sales to royalty and celebrities. For example, Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, has been seen wearing the Cartier Ballon Bleu timepiece. King Edward VII of England referred to Cartier as "the jeweller of kings and the king of jewellers."For his coronation in 1902, Edward VII ordered 27 tiaras and issued a royal warrant to Cartier in 1904. Similar warrants soon followed from the courts of Spain, Portugal, Russia, Siam, Greece, Serbia, Belgium, Romania, Egypt, Albania, Monaco, and the House of Orleans.