Charting Stories, Crafting Perspectives
Charting Stories, Crafting Perspectives

cartier glasses near me

Miller was killed in the summer of 2010 for his Cartier sunglasses. He was only 20 years old at the time. The 6’6″ former high school basketball star from Detroit, Michigan, bought the $2,400 pair of Cartier C Décor white buffalo horn frames, which are more generally known as “White Buffs.” He drove thirty minutes to get them, and his mom called him “Little Darryle.”

Although they may seem frivolous to outsiders, Cartier glasses are a status symbol in the city, and for over 30 years, they’ve remained a staple of Detroit fashion and culture. With a retail price that’s since jumped to $2,650 and up for the most popular frames, they’ve also become deeply associated with crime.

People call them Sticks, Carties, Cardis, or ‘Ye’s. Once upon a time, there was a fad for wire frames adorned with delicate gold rims and frames crafted from Bubinga wood. Nevertheless, the “All White Buffies,” who gained fame thanks to a song of the same name by Rich Ken. A rapper from Detroit, are currently positioned atop the Cartier eyewear hierarchy. People loved Buffs even more when they were whiter, and D. Mills, as his friends called him, wore a pair that was as white as ivory the night he died.

Someone who saw them say that they were so easy to see that a man who was hiding in a dark alley saw them as he came out of a poorly lit underpass after a rare night of partying downtown. He was tall, even compared to Darryle, who is a power forward. He demanded Darryle’s glasses while holding a gun to his head.

Rod, who was Darryle’s best friend and roommate at the time, says, “He just took off running.” Rod waited a moment and then began to follow them.

He went around the block after hearing a shot. Though Darryle was still running, he soon lost his balance and fell to the ground. The man stepped on top of Darryle, grabbed the glasses, and ran off. The man pointed the gun at Rod and said, “If you keep following me, I’m gonna air this bitch out.” Darryle was shot once in the back and died later that night. He left behind a two-year-old daughter.

Darryle died a little more than seven years ago, but his case is still open. His mother Rose tells him, “I’m going to keep fighting until someone is caught.” “That’s not right to kill someone over a pair of glasses.” But Darryle’s story is not unique when it comes to these glasses in Detroit. The Detroit Police Department says that between 2012 and 2016. Cartier glasses were used in 9 murders, 17 shots that did not result in death, and 2,158 thefts.

In 2014, a man named Timothy Jones helped a friend get rid of his dead wife’s body in exchange for a watch and some Cartier glasses. There was the group of three thieves who stole $1,600 in cash and a pair of old glasses. There was the group of two thieves who took a 29-year-old man’s glasses and, for a while, his right leg’s full range of motion. Cartier glasses weren’t the main focus of these stories; they were just a lucky coincidence. However, Detroit Police said that the year Darryle Miller was killed, a shocking 15 to 20 murders were linked to Cartier glasses in some way.

Police Chief James Craig of Detroit adamantly denies any trending relationship between crime and Cartiers and claims his department’s statistics make it impossible to infer motive. On a quick phone in July before heading to a Detroit screening, he says, “There may have been some robberies involving Cartier glasses before my arrival, but I cannot say with certainty that they are an object of attack.

” With good cause, he appears guarded about the city’s portrayal. Craig, who was appointed in 2013 during the most severe municipal bankruptcy in modern US history, was entrusted with the monumental responsibility of revitalizing a department that had been experiencing a period of decline. With an average police response time of an interminable 41 minutes, some referred to the persistent violent crime epidemic in Detroit as a “public health issue.” At the time, the city was also the murder capital of the United States. Cartier eyeglasses were merely another sign of Detroit’s problems.

The Influence of Cartier Sunglasses: A Cultural Symbol of Success and Power

Despite the fact that the Cartier owners I talked to are aware of the violent past of the glasses, the appeal of their meaning continues to draw in customers. According to Big Sean, who is widely considered to be the most influential rapper to emerge from Detroit since Eminem.

“It was a symbol in the city of ‘I’m seeing some type of success,'” while describing the event. Sending the message that you’re above the federal poverty threshold is valuable in a place where roughly 40% of the population lives below that boundary. This is your opportunity to prove to the world that you have overcome those challenges.

Cartier isn’t special in this regard. There have been 191 robberies this year involving Casal eyeglass frames, according to police records. These frames are popular among teenagers, and some of them even wear them without lenses. Cover story “Senseless” from Sports Illustrated a few years later discussed the epidemic of killings involving iconic athletic footwear like Air Jordan sneakers around the country. No one likes to be thought of as poor, but Cartiers have that special ability to make you feel like you’re not. Actual rose-colored spectacles.

A little over a year following D. Mills’s death, Big Sean made an appearance on 106 & Park, the iconic discussion show and hip-hop ritual that is BET. As he was about to answer his first inquiry, he retrieved a pair of Cartier Woods from the pocket of his dark pants. “If I were to appear on 106 & Park, I would definitely do something like that because I understood the significance to Detroit,” he stated.

Among the numerous Detroit rappers who have served as unofficial representatives for Cartier is Big Sean. Although Big Sean and hip-hop helped mythologize Cartier sunglasses, the look actually predates both of those movements. “I am unsure of its origin,” Sean said. What I can tell you is based on my recollection.

Cartier’s Evolution in the Luxury Eyewear Industry

Forty years after its founding, in 1887, the French princess had a pair of opera glasses adorned with diamonds—the first venture into eyewear for Cartier. With an opulent launch party in Tunisia attended by Elton John, Cartier introduced its first line of mass-produced glasses in 1983. Prior to this, the company’s optical offerings consisted only of elaborate, special-order pieces for over a century.

In the luxury eyewear industry, the brand has long been perceived as a “weak player” when compared to Gucci and Ray-Ban.

It was also “losing material amounts of money” until not long ago. (A pair of Gucci eyeglasses costs around $400 and a pair of Ray-Bans costs about $150; both brands fall under the luxury umbrella, but Cartier’s prices are significantly higher.)

Richemont, Cartier’s parent firm, had a 45.6% decline in total profits last year, though the exact numbers are hard to pin down. The iconic eyewear licensing agreement between the firm and the luxury corporation Kering—owner of Gucci, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, and many more—had this as one of its impetuses.

Cartier was the only luxury eyewear brand that could manage its production processes until the announcement of the deal in March 2017. The majority of high-end designers do not create their own eyeglasses but rather enter into license agreements with optical behemoths like Luxottica. Makes royalties payments to the brand owner by selling collections under the brand’s name. Although Cartier produces exquisite jewelry and timepieces, the brand’s eyeglasses appear to have been a secondary consideration. But in Detroit, it’s paramount.

During the last years of Motown’s glory, Cartier had a presence there. Like the glasses’ unbelievable ascent, the city’s spectacular fall is mind-boggling.

Dr. Herman Bennett established AuCourant, one of the initial Michigan-based authorized dealers of Cartier eyewear, in 1969 at the Somerset Collection mall. The most brutal riot of the 1960s began two years earlier, when a raid on a speakeasy roused dormant racial tensions. After five days, 43 lives had been lost, and the events of that day began Detroit’s descent into economic ruin. As people moved to the suburbs, the population dropped dramatically.

Bennett became an improbable benefactor of the demographic transition, even while white flight impoverished the city of businesses and employment. After opening a high-end eyewear boutique on the outskirts of town. He quickly discovered that the people of Detroit just could not get enough of Cartier eyeglasses.

Royalty and nobility wore Cartier nearly exclusively for nearly a century. But a new generation of artists and trendsetters had access to high-end merchandise thanks to widespread air travel in the 1960s and 1970s. In the mid-1980s, Blue collar line workers at automakers began to use their extra money to buy Cartier face jewels, a visible symbol of riches. A swell of nouveau-riche patrons seeking royal treatment drove Bennett’s business in the years after the riots.

You will feel like a royal just thinking about buying a pair. Following this protocol is mandatory for all interactions between sales associates and potential customers at Cartier: The associate starts by donning a pair of white gloves. They take their time and carefully remove the spectacles from both the red Cartier case and the black glasses case. Finally, the glasses are placed on a tray or a pillow made of white leather. To prevent any potential tarnishing of the white buffalo horn, the associate delicately lays them on the customer’s face.

Even though fewer people worked in the car sector in Detroit in the 1980s and 1990s. The store’s sales remained steady as crack became more common in the city thanks to a new type of customer: drug traffickers.

“The Black Mafia Family were cashing out Carties like crazy,” recalls Bennett’s granddaughter and AuCourant’s former manager, Amy Rosenberg. A infamous Detroit crime family that amassed over $270 million in assets. Cartier glasses continued to thrive, with new customers among Detroit’s growing criminal element, and other firms were eager to get in on the trend. “That account was sought after by all,” says Rosenberg.

Confidentially speaking, another worker at a legitimate Cartier dealer said. “If you have the money to open a Cartier account, you can make money hand over fist.” Insurance costs are high because of the potential for theft, which makes it difficult to enter the market. Even more shady methods of acquiring the merchandise exist when you aren’t an authorized merchant.

The Evolution of AuCourant to Optica: Detroit’s Cartier Empire

While AuCourant has changed ownership and is now called Optica. It remains the centerpiece of Detroit’s Cartier economy, one that extends to pawnshops, unauthorized dealers, independent distributors, vintage retailers, customization specialists, and an enormously profitable black market.

Many of the $200,000 worth of Cartier glasses stolen from the Somerset store two years ago are probably still in circulation. Rosenberg asserts that his companions had injuries as a result of being tied behind their backs and held up at gunpoint.

Describing the various forms of shoplifting, grand theft, credit card fraud. Regular snatch-and-grabs that contribute to the underground Cartier distribution network. On another occasion, a group of youths barged in right before we were to close. Brandished a revolver at my coworker, and made off with the whole case. In addition, our video camera was taken.

There are just 33 pairs of White Buffalo horn Cartier glasses available at authorized merchants worldwide, according to a sales assistant from Cartier. “They become possessed by it,” the unnamed Detroit employee says. Drawing a comparison to the ring from The Lord of the Rings. The status, the wealth. People who were about to leave my employ really committed stealing while they were leaving.

“I sprinted out of Somerset mall in Troy, Michigan with my first pair.” Says The General, a towering but gaunt guy who calls himself the Cartier King because to the quantity of glasses he asserts to have pilfered and sold throughout the years. “Was apprehended for it a year subsequent.”

The General drives his white BMW to a trap house to buy two Percocets for $20 while holding a FN Five-seven revolver with a 30-round extended magazine. We arrive at the pill vendor’s front porch, where he is sitting among his Cartier Giverny wire frames. His current 9 to 5 job, he claims, is “more professional” than working for The General’s White Buffs.

“They will look at [White Buffs] and think: dope dealer or rapper,” the man explains calmly. “I gained knowledge at a young age. Before this, I went [into court] with the White Buffs. Returned to the prison. It was because I resembled a drug dealer, according to the bailiff. Simply put, you can’t claim to be unemployed and wear $2,500 worth of spectacles to court.

Getting back in the car, the general starts griping about how clueless the younger generation is when it comes to carrying on the tradition of Cartier stealing. People have been robbed of their spectacles and left with $50,000 worth of watches. For $3-$4,000 worth of spectacles?! Cartiers is all they are aware of. The Cartiers are able to hear every note. They hear it all the time while they’re young. That’s their ultimate goal.

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