French silversmith and jeweller Louis-Francois Cartier established a modest workshop in Paris in 1847. He had the good fortune to come to the notice of Princess Mathilde Bonaparte who gave him many valuable commissions, which enabled him to expand his business. Under the management of his grandsons, Pierre and Jacques, the firm moved to its present location on the Rue de la Paix in 1889. Cartier's enjoyed the patronage of most of the royalty and nobility of Europe in the years before the First World War, opening branches in London, New York, Cannes and Monte Carlo. In 1972 the business was purchased by a group of investors and the New York and London branches which had been sold off, were repurchased. The company was renamed "Les Must de Cartier" in 1981 and then "Vendome Luxury Group" combining it with other luxury brands including Cartier, Alfred Dunhill, Montblanc, Piaget, Baume & Mercier, Karl Lagerfeld. Cartier is now part of luxury goods company Compagnie Financière Richemont SA, based in Switzerland, but founded by South African businessman Johan Rupert.
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