THE TRADE OF THE CENTURY
In 1917, New York millionaire Morton F. Plant, who was responsible for many structural developments in New York, sold his palatial, six-story 5th Avenue building worth $920,000 USD to savvy businessman Pierre Cartier (premier jeweller, Cartier’s son) for $100 and a beautiful Pearl necklace Plants’ fiance had her eye on. The necklace was worth: $1 𝑚𝑖𝑙𝑙𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑈𝑆𝐷 𝑤ℎ𝑖𝑐ℎ 𝑖𝑠 𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑡ℎ 𝑎𝑟𝑜𝑢𝑛𝑑 $22 𝑚𝑖𝑙𝑙𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑈𝑆𝐷 𝑡𝑜𝑑𝑎𝑦.The pearl necklace was worth more than the building at the time as Cultured pearls had not fully entered the marketplace yet. Pearls were extremely rare, so much so that each pearl had to be found by divers. It had taken Cartier years to assemble the 128 graduated, perfectly matched pearls of Plant's necklace.As Pearls started to enter the marketplace and became less rare, Plant’s wife ended up selling that Pearl necklace at an auction for only $150,000 USD and it was never seen again. Pierre had a vision, to create a public space that is regal but welcoming, as if entering a home featuring the worlds most unique jewels. As the years went by, people all over the world including movie stars, royalty, and New Yorkers of every social standing were mesmerised by the mansion and gravitated towards it. To this day, The mansion still features one-of-a-kind jewels, spectacular objects, and innovative timepieces — Just like Pierre envisioned.The Mansion now worth billions, bought for a double strand of pearls now worth $150,000, became the city's jewel and is known as the most iconic trades of the century.
Photo: The Jewellery Editor - Pierre Cartier, pictured in 1910.