Top 15 Jewelry Brands for 2020
Words like “Top” or “Best” are very subjective. If I like what you don’t, or you like what I don’t care for, the words themselves have little actual value. However, we can measure such things in relative terms if we use criteria like history, standing in the industry, innovation, relevance and more.
And so, with all that in mind, we bring you our top brands for 2020. Some you will know well, some may be new to you. The list is in no particular order.
No list like this could ever be complete without Buccellati. The Italian designer has now been producing amazing jewelry for 100 years, having started in 1919. Where others – rightly or wrongly – desperately try to stay on trend with every passing year, Buccellati just go their own way. Although the brand doesn’t explicitly follow design trends, never are their products anything less than relevant.
With a particular emphasis on bracelets and necklaces, Buccellati jewelry is very Roman in design and intent. This makes it all but timeless. Another distinctive element of Buccellati pieces is that the jewels are often encrusted into the designs, instead of being set in the usual way.
Instantly identified by the use of Italian yellow gold and insect and flower motifs, the company are the undisputed leaders in bold, beautiful, colorful jewelry.
Although one of the most stylish cities in the world, London lacks the status of being a major center for fine jewelry. However, in 1960, Laurence suddenly found himself unemployed when the jewelry store in which he worked closed its doors. Rather than dwell on a lost career, Graff set about taking on the well-established giants of the jewelry world.
Almost all Graff pieces are very much centered around the use of diamonds. So much so that the company is now one of the go-to places for some of the best diamonds in the world. They also adhere scrupulously to the Kimberley Process in order to ensure the sue of only ethical diamonds.
Graff are probably best known for their association with European royalty. They were, in fact, a preferred designer for the late Princess Diana. They also cut the most famous pink diamond ever seen, the Graff Pink, which sold for $42m at auction.
Possibly a new name to some, Mikimoto have been around for over 150 years. Started in 1858, in Japan, Mikimoto have an almost unassailable reputation for producing the world’s finest pearl jewelry. Every Miss Universe winner wears a Mikimoto-designed crown.
Only the very finest cultured Tahitian and South Sea pearls are used. In addition, only the finest craftsmen produce Mikimoto jewelry. Probably the most successful of all Japanese jewelry makers, Mikimoto are a Japanese icon with timeless pieces of exquisite beauty.
One of the often under-appreciated brands in the jewelry world, Chopard are nonetheless one of the finest producers of amazing pieces. The company concentrate on the use of colored stones as the center of most of their designs, with diamonds used to present the sapphire, emerald, or ruby to its absolute best.
Beginning in 1860, in Switzerland, it’s no surprise that much of Chopard’s history centers around exquisite timepieces. In the last few decades, however, they have produced more and more jewelry pieces that are highly prized for the quality of the gems used.
Many of the Chopard designs, even recent creations, have an air of vintage about them. This is in keeping with the traditions of craftsmanship within the company.
Spell it with a “u”, spell it with a “v”, as in the case of all Bulgari branding, it makes no difference. Like Buccellati, Bulgari designs celebrate Roman and Italian culture. Pieces are enormously popular for the mix of ancient and modern in their designs. Their long history of producing the pieces that people just love to be seen in has stood them in good stead.
Originally formed in 1884, by Greek immigrant Sotirios Voulgaris, Bulgari pieces are a favorite of movie stars the world over. Elizabeth Taylor was a lover of the house, and owned several unique Bulgari creations.
Van Cleef & Arpels
Van Cleef & Arpels, as a business, was born in 1896. It is somewhat appropriate, then, that many of their designs have their roots in the arts and crafts, and art nouveau movements. Their use of nature motifs has been without compromise for 120 years. As a result, vintage and antique Can Cleef & Arpels pieces are amongst the most sought after of all designers.
Jewelry from this legendary French jewelry maker is iconic. Due to its eye-catching nature, it is also worn by many cultural icons across the world. The brand may not be the first name on the lips of most “regular” jewelry buyers, but there is a reason why it is one of the most respected names around. VCA Jewelry can be one of the most alluring and curious on the market.
Another name which may be new to some, and another Swiss watchmaker turned jewelry designer. A common theme amongst Swiss jewelers is the level of craftsmanship which transfers over from the extreme intricacies of watchmaking to jewelry design.
Piaget designs have their roots firmly in the “old” world. Their use of nature motifs and an incredible level of detail sets most pieces apart from those we usually see. Designers and makers in the company still employ methods which have been around for centuries. This results in unique and beautiful pieces which are impossible to recreate using entirely modern techniques.
You could look at a hundred lists of the best jewelry houses, and Cartier would be in every single one. One of the first French jewelry houses to become an international icon, Cartier has been producing exquisite pieces for discerning collectors for 150 years. Many royal houses look to Cartier for bespoke coronation or other event jewelry. The Cartier Panther motif has been part of the company almost since the beginning. It is redesigned and refreshed periodically, but remains essentially Cartier. Vintage Cartier Jewelry is highly collectible.
One of the most enduring legacies of the Cartier brand is actually one of their most recent creations. The Love Bracelet first appeared in the 1970s, and has remained one of the most popular items in the Cartier catalogue.
Harry Winston is a name which often comes up in discussions about history’s finest gems. The company have been responsible for cutting and setting some of the greatest diamonds and other stones that the world have ever seen. But this reputation sometimes overshadows what Harry Winston do in terms of wider jewelry production.
Many of the pieces produced by the company use rare or even unique gemstones. Custom, bespoke designs are the hallmark of what Harry Winston do, and puts the brand in the very top echelons of design and manufacture.
Here we have a name which will probably be unfamiliar to most people, even many with more than a passing interest in jewelry. The Mouawad company started in Beirut, Lebanon in 1908. Since that time, it has moved its headquarters to Switzerland, with a Middle-East HQ in Dubai.
Mouawad are famous for having one of the best private collections of diamonds and other gems. They also hold 5 Guinness World Records. This includes the world’s largest internally flawless diamond, and the most expensive piece of lingerie ever produced. The company now have several boutiques across Europe, the Middle-East and South East Asia, with an emphasis on art nouveau-inspired designs of extreme intricacy.
Boucheron was founded in France in 1858 by Frederic Boucheron. The company is famous for being the first to move to Place Vendome in Paris. The square is the heart of fine French design, with Boucheron moving into number 26. It is an address which still houses a Boucheron boutique to this day.
The company remained in the Boucheron family until 1994, until its sale to a global finance company. It became part of the parent group of Gucci in 2004, where it remains today.
Asprey of London
The history of Asprey is not dissimilar to that of Tiffany & Co. Life started for Asprey as an emporium of fine goods, in England in the mid 1700s. After several expansions, the company moved to its present home on New Bond Street, in London, in 1847. As a result, came a move into jewelry design and manufacture. Asprey soon picked up a Royal Warrant from Queen Victoria, and their took their place in English jewelry history. They still hold Warrants for the British Royal Family to this day.
Asprey set no limits on their designs. The company has one of the widest ranges of styles in the world. Their history in fine leather goods and objet d’art means Asprey are not confined to any trend or period. From old world designs to ultra-modern, the Asprey collection is unique amongst high-quality jewelry houses.
Probably better known for dresses and perfume, Dior jewelry is the unsung hero of the famous French design house. Born into a wealthy family, Christian Dior chose not to follow his parents plans for him. Instead of becoming a diplomat, he insisted his future was in art. Dior worked for many great fashion houses, until he decided the time was right to form his own company.
Dior’s “New Look” ideals made Paris the center of the fashion world. Alongside this clothing-led success, the company quietly produced bespoke jewelry for an exclusive clientele. Today, jewelry is an important part of the Dior catalogue. Bold designs, in equally bold colors make Dior Collections stand out from may of its contemporaries.
Born in 19742, David Yurman has his background in sculptures. In particular his specialty involved sculptural welding. It is this skill which transferred to making jewelry in the early 1970s. A doyen of sculpting in the Beatnik movement and in Greenwich Village, Yurman became a central figure in the American Crafts Movement.
The company signature design is cable bracelets. Such is the uniqueness of the method with which cable items are made, they were awarded a patent. In a world in which French and other nationalities dominate jewelry, David Yurman is a genuine American success story.
Tiffany & Co.
Although renowned as innovators in fine jewelry, Tiffany & Co. have their roots in the department store business. Indeed, their New York flagship store still creates and sells products way beyond jewelry collections. Starting in 1837, the change to a more jewelry-oriented business came in 1853 at the behest of Charles Tiffany, and a legend was born.
The Tiffany Setting is now the most popular setting for engagement rings in the world, but is often copied by other manufacturers, much to Tiffany’s dismay. Now, the Tiffany & Co. brand is one of the most iconic in any industry. This is helped in no small way by the fact the NYC store has been the setting for many movie scenes.
You can view antique Tiffany Engagement Rings at Estate Diamond Jewelry.