In 1924, the Trinity ring was born and a century later, the iconic three-band ring is a signature of the Cartier House. Not only has the Trinity remained relevant and a firm favourite with royalty and celebrities, but it also has continued to attract a new audience. Over the years necklaces, bracelets and earrings have been added to the collection and at the glittering global unveil in Paris this week, Cartier revealed the celebratory centenary designs – the cult XL bracelet from the 2000s has been reissued and an XL version of the original ring makes its debut, while the geometric shape adds a daring touch.
The power of three
Three is a magical number for Cartier. Created by Louis Cartier, the Trinity ring was the Maison’s first design icon and was enormously symbolic at the time: the three Cartier brothers – Louis, Pierre and Jacques – settled in three capitals where they opened the three Maisons – Paris, London and New York. The Trinity was composed of three intertwined, mobile bands in platinum, yellow gold and rose gold. While it has graced famous fingers, the philosophy behind the Trinity ring is that there is no age limit and there are no boundaries – it is a symbol of the Maison’s values and has become a universal icon for everyone, a symbol of love, friendship and loyalty.
Ahead of its time
The intertwining rings not only broke jewellery conventions at the time but were (and remain) a technical masterpiece, poetry in motion if you will. The fluidity of the moving rings, the clean lines, the shapes and the proportions mean that the ring is never quite the same on any wearer. The overlapping rings slide over each other so there is never a definitive look. As the brand explains, “None of the three bands sits above the other two. Each one sits above another and below a third. It is impossible to say which one is at the top, or which one is at the bottom… Three objects and not one greater or lesser than the others.”
The new interpretations are true to the timeless Trinity. The trilogy of white gold, yellow gold and rose gold remains, as do the clean lines and simplicity. The newness comes in the shape and distortion of the bands. “The idea of redesigning Cartier Trinity, an icon ‘par excellence’ seemed almost laughable, an impossible feat,” says Marie-Laure Cérède, Director of Watchmaking and Jewellery design, on the new Trinity Collection. “But the challenge intrigued us. We forged ahead but freed ourselves from the obligation to produce a result at all costs. If a new design sparked inspiration, we would fully embrace it. But if it didn’t resonate, we agreed we would not push it any further.”
But resonate it did.
In the new geometric, cushion-shaped version, the rings slide one above the other easily and come in classic and large model rings in the gold trilogy or paved with diamonds. “The new design called for a bespoke approach,” says Marie-Laure of the square shape. “Instead of starting from a hand-drawn sketch, we worked the volume by hand – kneading the material, rolling it, compressing it to isolate a creative direction. To our surprise, an unexpected new shape began to emerge: a cushion. After unlocking the shape, we had to pinpoint its ideal proportions. With the finesse of a stone sculptor, we stripped away layers, little by little, a tenth of a millimetre at a time. It was a work of utmost precision.”
The modular version, which will be available in March, is like a magic puzzle and can be worn as one wide, large band, or as three, revealing the diamonds as the rings move. “The modular Trinity takes a counterintuitive design approach: construction then deconstruction,” says Marie-Laure. “Like a Kumiki puzzle, we envisioned the Trinity bands interlocked as one structure, and then designed in reverse to deconstruct them into three. This naturally creates multiple ways to wear the same ring, which makes this Trinity so contemporary and adds to its universality. Wear the ring fused together for a discreet day look, then unravel the bands to reveal the diamonds at night.”