Trinity turns 100: looking back on an icon’s memorable journey.
Celebrating a centennial is a rare, almost magical milestone, often reserved for the most enduring and iconic creations. It’s a recognition that something has not just existed but thrived, adapted, and inspired for a full century. As Cartier marks the 100th anniversary of its legendary Trinity ring, it’s not just celebrating a piece of jewelry but a century of artistic innovation and cultural significance. The Trinity ring, conceived by Louis Cartier in 1924, is an exquisite representation of Cartier’s core values: diversity, love in its multifaceted forms, and harmonious unity. This masterpiece intertwines three gold bands — yellow, rose, and white — each a symbol of love’s different expressions: filial, familial, friendly, marital, and more, thus weaving a story of sentiment and meaning through its simple yet profound design.
The story of Trinity is deeply entwined with the history of Cartier itself. Born from a bold vision, the ring signified a departure from traditional jewelry norms, catapulting Cartier into an era of modernity. The ring’s intertwined design is a tribute to the three Cartier brothers and their historic boutiques in Paris, London, and New York, encapsulating the essence of the number three — considered perfect and magical. Over the decades, Trinity has evolved, yet its core design remains timeless and universally appealing, transcending age, fame, and societal norms. This year’s centennial celebration is marked by Cartier’s continued innovation, with new twists on the classic design, introducing varying band styles and volumes, alongside audacious uses of materials.
The 100th-anniversary celebration brings forth an exciting array of designs and reissues. The spotlight shines on the reimagined XL bracelet, a nod to the 2000s’ iconic creation, and an XL version of the ring, both echoing the original’s elegance while making a bold contemporary statement. The new designs retain the classic chromatic trilogy but venture into innovative territories with altered shapes and band distortions. Particularly captivating is the cushion-shaped version and a modular ring design debuting in March 2024, offering wearers the versatility of a singular wide band or separate bands, exemplifying Cartier’s dedication to creativity and adaptability.
In reflecting upon Trinity’s centennial journey, one observes not just the evolution of a ring, but the evolution of Cartier’s design ethos and cultural impact. Trinity transcended its role as a mere piece of jewelry to become an emblem of Cartier’s innovative spirit. Its simplicity, balanced proportions, and ergonomic design underscore its status as a poetic yet technically sophisticated creation. Trinity’s influence permeated into Cartier’s lifestyle collections, becoming a symbol of elegance in everyday life. As Cartier dedicates this year to celebrating diversity and creativity through Trinity, it invites us to explore our own “Trinity of love.” As we join Cartier in celebrating the iconic Trinity ring, the occasion emerges as a tribute to a century defined by timeless elegance, creative brilliance, and a universal language of beauty that connects us all.
Interview with Marie-Laure Cérède, Director of Watchmaking and Jewellery design
With what kind of mindset do you approach an iconic Cartier design like Trinity? How much creative leeway do you have?
The idea of redesigning Cartier Trinity, an icon ‘par excellence’ seemed almost laughable, an impossible feat. 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. To redesign Trinity we started at the beginning: three golds, made into three independent bands yet joined inseparably: three from one, and one from three. Plus the emotion that emanates from their rolling dance... Anchored by its sacred values, we aimed to capture the absolute essence of the original, but with a unique and incremental creative recipe.
Why a squared shape?
The new design called for a bespoke approach. 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.
What was your creative aim with the modular Trinity ring?
The modular Trinity takes a counter-intuitive design approach: construction then deconstruction. 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.