In 1924, Cartier created its first ring with three intertwined bands in platinum, rose gold, and yellow gold. Soon after, in the same year, the house made a bracelet in a similar style. The striking yet minimalist style would soon become a celebrity favourite, sported by personalities such as poet Jean Cocteau, actor Alain Delon, and actress Grace Kelly.
Over the last hundred years, this classic design and celebrity favourite have been reinterpreted in myriad ways: Today, the third band is more likely to be in white gold rather than platinum, and Trinity bands have also been paved with diamonds, crafted from black ceramic, finished with facets or gadroons, or made in different sizes.
Such is the strength of the Trinity design that it has also lent itself to avant-garde creative experimentation: In March 2022, Chitose Abe, founder of Japanese fashion label Sacai, used her knack for deconstruction to play with the proportions of the three interlocking bands in a limited-edition collection.
As the iconic design celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, it was no surprise that Marie-Laure Cerede, director of watchmaking and jewellery design at Cartier, sought to put a truly distinctive new spin on the classic. But with the Trinity design being as iconic and harmonious as it is, this was an undertaking that she did not want to force.
In the press notes for the new Trinity collection, Cerede shares, “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 further.”
And resonate with the new designs they certainly did. Marking Trinity’s centennial, Cartier has launched two brand new iterations of this classic while also reissuing an XL Trinity bracelet from 2004 and introducing a new ring in an XL size.
The first new iteration sees the bands take on a squarish, cushion shape — available as gold or diamond-set rings and a gold bracelet. The angular form adds an unexpected and modern edge to the familiar tri-circular form. An unconventional approach was needed to create the surprisingly fresh shape and ensure that it did not compromise the Trinity’s fluidity and comfort.
Cerede explains, “Instead of starting from a hand-drawn sketch, we worked the volume by hand — kneading the material, rolling it, and 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.”
The second new edition offers an even more intriguing reimagining of the trio of bands. A modular version of the Trinity and set with 144 brilliant-cut diamonds, this design can be worn as a large, wide single band or — as with its classical form — as three more obviously discrete bands.
The team turned to a traditional Japanese wooden puzzle while realising this sculptural piece, which Cerede notes can be worn “fused together for a discreet day look” or unravelled “to reveal the diamonds” for a dressier event.
She says, “The modular Trinity takes a counterintuitive 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.”