At Cartier, it has always begun with a dream. And a visit to a Cartier boutique is just the beginning. Passing through the doors of Cartier, swept open by liveried doormen, the elegant, wood-panelled New Bond Street boutique is laden with history. You can almost feel that special things happen here. A couple, perched on the edges of their seats, gaze at a tray of perfect solitaire engagement rings, picking them up, one at a time, exchanging knowing looks.
The irresistible attraction of a Cartier engagement ring is a mix of quintessential Cartier style combined with the reassuring presence of the finest diamonds. Choosing the perfect ring takes most couples two, three, four or even more visits. Often, it is the man who comes for the initial visit, which usually lasts an hour.
Cartier's bridal ambassadors are devoted to making the experience as special as possible and have many romantic stories to tell. They can help orchestrate the perfect proposal, which is, more often than not, on holiday. There have been no reports of men actually proposing in the showroom, but the staff agree that the greatest satisfaction is seeing so many couples in love. Many take photographs of their visit to Cartier as an important part of their wedding memories. Once the engagement ring has been chosen, couples are offered champagne and treated to the full Cartier luxury experience, a memory that they will linger over for many years.
What's more, if you say "yes" with Cartier you are joining an elite club that stretches back more than 160 years and includes such famous couplings as Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, all of whom sealed their love with a Cartier engagement ring. But you are also saying "yes" to much more. Each Cartier engagement ring is a piece of history, with a story to tell.
Whether you are contemplating a classic diamond solitaire, set with a single, spectacular diamond, or are drawn to one of Cartier's era-defining designs like the LOVE, you can trace the heritage of each ring to a moment in time. The Solitaire 1895 dates back to the late 19th century, yet remains one of Cartier's most popular engagement rings. The Déclaration is a shot of contemporary Cartier straight to the heart. The LOVE ring features one of Cartier's most recognisable designs: tiny locks engraved on the band, which symbolise the strength of the bond between the wearer and the giver.
Many of Cartier's best-known engagement rings can be "Set for You", an exclusive made-to-measure service offered at every Cartier boutique that allows you to tailor an engagement ring to your exact requirements. Under the guidance of one of Cartier's bridal ambassadors, the first stage is to choose from 14 classic Cartier designs, including the Solitaire 1895, Ballerine, Déclaration and Cartier's newest design, the Destinée. Once you have decided on the carat size, colour and clarity of the solitaire diamond that will form the centerpiece of your ring - from 0.18ct all the way up to 2.99ct - Cartier's master craftsmen will set to work creating your ring, a process that takes just a few weeks.
If you are looking for something with a little more sparkle, there is the C de Cartier ring, set with five rows of pavé diamonds around the band, or the Déclaration, with a trail of elegant baguette-cut diamonds encircling the finger. The Destinée, launched at the beginning of the year, has already become a house classic. Viewed from the side, the central solitaire is raised in an open setting, allowing light to flood through the stone, while the halo of pavé diamonds surrounding it, scalloped like lace, are individually held in place by an invisible claw setting, maximising their brilliance.
Browse the full range of styles that can be "Set for You" here, where you can create a wish list of your favourites. But to fully immerse yourself in the Cartier bridal experience, visit your nearest Cartier retailer and let the magic begin.