There are two distinctive jewelry boxes in the world: Tiffany's robin's egg blue one, and Cartier's red ones with gold trim. Cartier is the only general jeweler to make Millward Bown's list.
The company is owned by the Richemont group, which also owns Van Cleef & Arpels, among others. Its jewelry brands saw revenue of €4.5 billion last year, up from €3.5 billion the year before. That massive run-up can be explained in a single word: China.
Here's how CEO Johann Rupert explains it, and we're quoting this verbatim from Richemont's most recent earnings call:
I am not going to say that this is sustainable. We have no idea what the currencies are going to do.
... So anybody who’s going to ask, ‘So, what do you think the next year looks like?’, why don’t you just not ask the question, because we’re not going to answer any? It’s not that we’re coy or funny. We don’t know. We also do not know what the currencies are going to do, and we also do not know whether the Chinese are going to continue to buy ad infinitum. We don’t know.
… I feel like I’m having a black tie dinner on top of a volcano. Okay? That volcano is China, but that’s what I feel like. I go, in the morning we put on our ties and our watches and we go, and the food’s better, and the wine’s better, and the weather is great, but let’s not kid ourselves. There is a volcano somewhere, whether it’s this year, in ten years’ time, or in twenty years’ time. We are exposed to China. I think they’re going to travel more. I think they’re going to survive. I think all of these things, but we are now a ‘China play’, and it suits us if the euro gets weaker.