Backstory: The Cartier Trinity Is 100 And Looking Better Than Ever

One of Cartier’s most recognised designs may have just turned 100, but it still looks as fresh as the day it debuted
Cartier Trinity, one of Cartier’s most recognised designs, may have just turned 100, but it still looks as fresh as the day it debuted
Cartier Trinity extra-large ring in white gold, rose gold and yellow gold

There is something undeniably wondrous and powerful about the number three across cultures, civilisations and time. Pythagoras considered it a sacred number, while Plato favoured it for representing the triangle, the simplest shape. You can find many examples of the number’s power in history as well: The rule of three writing principle, the rule of thirds in photography, The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, Aladdin’s three wishes, expressions such as “the third time is the charm”—they all seem to point to a sense of harmony and completeness surrounding the number three.

Encapsulating all that in jewellery is Cartier’s Trinity collection, featuring three hoops in infinite rotation, with no discernible beginning or end, an embodiment of timelessness, symmetry and perfection. Introduced by Louis Cartier in 1924, the design was groundbreaking from the start for mixing precious metals, for eschewing gemstones, and for its bold use of colour. The name “Trinity” first appeared in print in 1925, referring to the three-band and three-colour ring and bracelet, and by the 1930s the jewellery had captured the attention of celebrities and trendsetters such as French poet Jean Cocteau and American actor Gary Cooper, who both wore two Trinity rings on their little fingers. By the 1950s and 60s, screen legends including Alain Delon, Romy Schneider and Grace Kelly had caught the Trinity fever. And today the design motif remains as relevant and stylish as ever.

Starting out in a combination of yellow gold, rose gold and platinum, the Trinity has evolved over the decades, demonstrating endless variation: the width and volume of the rings; their number, as high as 10; and their surfaces, whether fluted, faceted or gadrooned. The maison has even injected the collection with creative capsules, such as the 2022 six-piece limited-edition collaboration with Chitose Abe, a Japanese designer and the founder of the fashion brand Sacai, who turned the Trinity’s three-hoop design into rings for three fingers.

To commemorate the Trinity’s 100th anniversary, this year’s novelties comprise cushion-shaped designs (two rings, a bracelet and a pendant); modular and interlocking creations, like 3D puzzles; and XL versions, including an XL ring and the XL bracelet unveiled in 2004 and now reissued, crafted from white gold, rose gold and yellow gold, with or without diamonds. The most striking ones, the cushion-shaped pieces might seem unintuitive—no one has digits with a square cross-section, after all—but the concept comes from the pursuit of a fresh and unexpected way to honour the Trinity motif. “To redesign Trinity we started at the beginning: three golds, made into three independent bands yet joined inseparably,” says Marie-Laure Cérède, director of watchmaking and jewellery design at Cartier. “Anchored by its sacred values, we aimed to capture the absolute essence of the original, but with a unique and incremental creative recipe.”

Cartier Trinity Cushion necklace in white gold, rose gold and yellow gold

To mark the Cartier Trinity’s centenary, the maison went all out this February, with an extravaganza that took place in Paris, London and New York in succession—the same three cities that laid the foundation for the brand and that today host the three Cartier temples, or founding boutiques. Ambassadors and friends of the brand, from Blackpink’s Jisoo and Got7’s Jackson Wang to Yara Shahidi, were joined by celebrity guests such as Monica Belluci, Sofia Coppola, Emma Chamberlain, Roh Yoonseo, Jeff Satur and more at the grand fête. At the same time, Cartier established an accompanying pop-up space in Paris’s Marais district to serve Trinity-inspired patisserie crafted by celebrity chef Cédric Grolet and present the 2024 Trinity novelties, showing how the infinitely evolving design is greater than the sum of its parts.


This story originally appeared in the May 2024 issue of GRAZIA Singapore.


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