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Cartier jewelry depicted within the company’s New York mansion during its renovation.

Laziz Hamani for Cartier

In 1917, Pierre Cartier made the New York real estate deal of the century when he traded a flawlessly matched double-strand pearl necklace for a neo-Renaissance-style mansion on the corner of 52nd Street and Fifth Avenue. Maisie Plant, the wife of the railroad tycoon Morton Plant, received a rare and coveted piece of jewelry, and Cartier acquired the building that would stand as his company’s flagship boutique for a century. To mark the store’s centennial, Cartier is celebrating with a good deal of fanfare—and refurbishing. After a two-and-a-half-year renovation led by the architect Thierry Despont, the mansion reopens this month, looking and feeling like the glorious residence it once was. Stately rooms with original cerused-oak paneling and chandeliers modeled after those selected by Pierre Cartier lead to smaller, more intimate spaces filled with artworks and antiques. Many of the salons are dedicated to famous Cartier clients, like Andy Warhol, Elizabeth Taylor, and Grace Kelly, whose own pieces—including a 10-carat diamond engagement ring given to her by Prince Rainier III of Monaco—will be on display in the bridal salon, as part of an ongoing series of exhibitions. The revamped boutique is also more than quadruple its former size, extending up six floors from a new sweeping entrance to a landscaped rooftop terrace perfect for private parties. “The idea was to return to the original grandeur of an early-20th-century home—but also modernize it,” says Mercedes Abramo, the president and CEO of Cartier North America, noting the addition of technological amenities like free Wi-Fi, and a mobile app complete with a directory, not-to-miss jewels, and the history of the architectural landmark. “For Cartier, it’s the beginning of another 100 years.”

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