Buro visited Cartier's Parisian atelier, founded in 1847. Around 100 people work at Cartier's iconic building on 13 Rue de la Paix where the house designs and makes all their unique custom pieces - it's also home to the largest collection of Cartier jewelry and timepieces worldwide. Over 60 jewelers work in 10 departments. Each one specialises in different jewelry-making techniques, from drawing to polishing. It takes 10 years of training to become a Cartier jeweler and the trainees don't get to work with anything precious, training with other materials until they're ready to handle the expensive stones.
"Our level of craftsmanship is the highest in the world so the challenges are very demanding for anyone who comes to work here," says Cartier's image, style and heritage director Pierre Rainero. On average, it takes about 500 hours for a unique piece to be ready. The prototypes are made by four people working together around a table - each employee is sworn to secrecy at this stage of the design process and can't reveal Cartier's clients' identities. The quality of the stones is crucial: they define the design of the jewel. The brand also adheres to the strict rules of The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS).