High-end jewelry, also known in the Paris fashion world as Haute Joaillerie, is masterfully designed by the world’s most dedicated and talented artisans. Pieces are often one-of-a-kind and cannot be bought in stores. So, what makes these high jewelry brands so exclusive, and what about their designs sets them apart from the rest? We’ll take a closer look at some of the most famous names in fine jewelry and how they’ve established themselves as legends of Haute Joaillerie.
Haute Joaillerie Designers
Established in Rome in 1884 by Sotirio Bulgari, Bulgari has been a recognizable name in high-end jewelry for some time. You’ll usually see their name written as Bvlgari™ to reflect the traditional Latin alphabet. Though Sotirio was an immigrant to Italy from Greece, he possessed tremendous skill working with precious metals and was able to open his first shop shortly after moving to Rome. His two sons, Constantino and Giorgio, both worked for their father’s business and took over when he passed away in 1932. It was the two brothers who really established the brand as a respected name in fine jewelry, especially post WWII when restrictions on precious metals and stones had been lifted. Their use of platinum, diamonds, and other sought-after stones like sapphires and emeralds cemented their status as purveyors of unique and distinct fine jewels—especially among the wealthier elite. It was during this time that the brand began to flourish and really take on its own style. Nowadays, a Bulgari piece is identifiable by its ancient Roman and Greek influences, and use of brilliant colored stones like sapphires and rubies. The company boasts a history of celebrity clientele, including Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Andy Warhol, Sophia Loren, among others.
Chanel is a widely recognized name in both the couture fashion and jewelry industries. The company was founded in 1909 in Paris, France by Coco Chanel, who herself owned quite the collection of fine jewels. Though her clothing designs were sleek and simple, Chanel liked to dress up her clothing with a combination of both fine jewelry and costume pieces. It wasn’t until the 1930’s that she launched her first high end jewelry collection. Coco Chanel commissioned Duke Fulco di Verdura to design her collections, eventually making him the head of Chanel jewelry. Fulco is credited with designing the famed Chanel Maltese Cross fashioned with multicolor gemstones, which ended up being one of Coco Chanel’s favorite statement pieces that she wore often.
Founded in Paris, France in 1847 Louis-François Cartier got his start by taking over his master’s workshop. However, it wasn’t until his grandsons, Louis, Pierre, and Jacques took over the family business that they established themselves as a well-known name in fine jewelry. It was Louis, who maintained the brand’s flagship location in Paris, that really cultivated Cartier’s signature style. His innovative garland designs made from platinum and diamonds brought platinum to the forefront of fine jewelry artistry. His list of wealthy clientele was plentiful, with names like Princess Mathilde Bonaparte and Edward VII who once referred to Louis as “the jeweler of Kings, the King among jewelers.” Cartier high jewelry is truly the best of the best. Between their ornate, handcrafted jewels and elegant wristwatches, Cartier didn’t follow rules, instead they were setting them. In addition to revolutionizing the use of platinum, Cartier also played a hand in introducing men’s wristwatches into Parisian society, an accessory that was considered rather bold for the time. Prior to popularizing the wrist watch, men were expected to carry only pocket watches.
Tiffany & Co.
Tiffany & Co. is arguably the most familiar name in fine jewelry. But did you know that the company was founded as a stationery and fine goods retailer? Established in 1837, founders Charles Lewis Tiffany and John B. Young offered customers fancy stationary items such as pens and key rings, a tradition that the company has maintained and even expanded to include additional items for the home. Tiffany & Co. has made some remarkable contributions to the world of fine jewelry, including being the first company to send out mail order catalogs to customers, which they aptly named “The Blue Book.” The signature blue color usually associated with the brand was officially given the name Pantone 1837 for the year the company was founded. Tiffany & Co. has earned recognition for maintaining the standard of using only silver that is 92% pure when crafting their jewelry and other items, hence the 925 engraved on all Tiffany products. This standard was universally adopted in the United States, thanks to the exquisite craftsmanship of Tiffany & Co.
Founded by David and Sybil Yurman in 1980, David Yurman has built a total of 44 boutiques worldwide, securing their status as a renowned high jewelry brand. Yurman has an artistic background in sculpting, having traveled throughout his younger years, working as a sculpting apprentice before opening his own studio. He has perfected the craft of sculptural jewelry with notable designs like his famed cable bracelets. Yurman was the first well-known jeweler to set diamonds in silver, setting his work apart from the rest. His pieces are also recognized for their mixed metal styles. David Yurman jewelry has been worn by several famous faces including Sarah Jessica Parker, Angelina Jolie, and Jennifer Lawrence.
Discover Exquisite Fine Jewelry in San Diego
Leo Hamel Fine Jewelry & Engagement Rings Store carries a selection of pieces from all of the designers named above, and more! If you’re wanting to shop high-end jewelry for less than the retail price, you must visit our San Diego jewelry store and explore all that we have to offer!