An Editor’s Peek Inside the Cartier Fifth Avenue Mansion
Follow us on a grand tour of this iconic NYC landmark
You know when you’re in a particularly fabulous store and you just kinda moan, “Ugh, I want to live here”? Well, the new Cartier Fifth Avenue Mansion in the heart of Manhattan garners that same response. Although it’s not new. And it was actually home to a big-name financier back in the 1910s, until he sold it to the Cartier family in exchange for $100 and a double strand of 128 natural pearls (trust us, they were some good pearls). A century later the landmark still stands, and now with a major Manhattan-sized facelift. (Two and a half years, four times the size.) Here’s what made us go weak in the knees during a private tour of the place—or should we say palace?
A Room That Pays Homage to a Screen Queen
Vacationing in the South of France is pretty dreamy. Vacationing in the South of France while your husband adorns you with custom Cartier jewels is the stuff of legends. The Elizabeth Taylor Salon in the Cartier Fifth Avenue Mansion is filled with gems as big as the movie star herself. And when you’re done fawning over those creations, you can turn your attention to the triptych of still photographs grabbed from a home movie, shot in August 1957 while Taylor and her husband, film producer Mike Todd, were vacationing in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France. It was there that Todd presented her with a Cartier ruby and diamond necklace—while she was in her bikini, mind you. (The photos on the wall feel like the most glamorous Instagram story, ever.)
An In-House Perfumer Takes Residence on the Fourth Floor
A sensory experience unlike any other, the fourth floor is home to Cartier perfumer Mathilde Laurent’s 11 exclusive fragrances—each housed in a tiny red Cartier box. Simply take your pick, open the box and a video will begin to play, illustrating the scent. For what it’s worth, Number VII smells like a field of peonies.
The Old Ballroom is Now Home to All the Diamonds
All diamonds and engagement rings are located in this oval stunner named the Princess Grace Salon. And, quite honestly, the lighting might be the best in all of Manhattan.
And, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Ring
Speaking of Princess Grace of Monaco, the original Cartier engagement ring (a flawless 10.48-carat emerald-cut jaw-dropper flanked by two baguettes) that she received from Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956 will be on exhibit from now until October 15. Sorry, no try-ons.
And Finally, The Secret Door...
Last but certainly not least are all the little secrets dotting the Cartier Fifth Avenue Mansion’s six floors, such as a camouflaged door that connects this staircase to the private Jeanne Toussaint Salon, named after Cartier’s first artistic director. The mezzanine is strictly forVIPs only. Clients who are looking to commission one-of-a-kind, high-end pieces gain entry under the supervision of a Cartier employee. We, of course, got the VIP treatment (at least for a day).