Here are the most prestigious French luxury jewelry brands from noble, established houses to up-and-coming designers. The French capital is home to some of the world’s most prestigious jewelry designers (“joailliers” in French) and houses, who draw from hundreds of years of expertise and know-how to create truly unforgettable pieces.
When you’re seeking a truly original and elegant piece of jewelry, a whirl through some of the finer jewelry boutiques in Paris is an obvious choice. Known for their exquisite craftsmanship, each of these French luxury jewelry brands has its own personality. Read on to learn more about the most prestigious French luxury jewelry brands and find something extraordinary that will stand the test of time. On the other hand, if you’re looking for more affordable options, you can read my previous article on chic yet affordable French jewelry brands.
Van Cleef & Arpels
Van Cleef & Arpels is a French luxury jewelry brand founded in 1896 by Alfred Van Cleef and his father-in-law Salomon Arpels in Paris. The story of Van Cleef & Arpels began in Place Vendôme, a prominent Parisian square designed by Jules Hardouin-Mansart late in the reign of Louis XIV. In 1906, the Maison opened its first boutique at 22 Place Vendôme, soon expanding the shop to include number 24.
On 2 December 1933, Van Cleef and Arpels received French Patent for a proprietary gem setting style it calls Serti Mysterieux, or “Mystery Setting”, a technique employing a setting where the prongs are invisible. Their pieces often feature flowers, animals, and fairies, and have been worn by style icons such as Grace Kelly, Farah Pahlavi, Eva Perón, Elizabeth Taylor, the Duchess of Windsor, and Queen Nazli of Egypt.
The Iconic Collection: Alhambra
Created by Van Cleef & Arpels in 1968, the four-leaf clover-inspired Alhambra jewelry collection established itself as a timeless symbol of luck.
“To be lucky, you have to believe in luck”
Cartier is regarded as one of the most prestigious jewelry manufacturers in the world. The legend of Cartier began in Paris France in 1847, when Louis-François Cartier took over the workshop of his master, Adolphe Picard. In 1899, Louis Cartier established the now-famous Cartier boutique at 13 Rue de la Paix in the French capital. A true place of historical importance for the iconic jeweler, it has been an essential address for global royalty and countless celebrities ever since.
For hundreds of years, Cartier has created and maintained close relationships with royal families and celebrities in various countries. King Edward VII of Great Britain even referred to Cartier as “the jeweler of kings and the king of jewelers.”
The Iconic Collection: Love
Created in New York in the 1970s, the Love bracelet is an icon of jewelry design. A close-fitting, oval bracelet, worn on the wrist and removed with a gold screwdriver. Many legendary couples of the 1970s proclaimed their love with the illustrious bracelet: from Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Sophia Loren, and Carlo Ponti, to Nancy and Frank Sinatra. Shop pre-owned Cartier 18kt gold Love bracelet at Farfetch.
Chaumet is a French luxury jewelry and watchmaking brand founded in 1780 by Marie-Étienne Nitot, firstly employee of Ange-Joseph Aubert, jeweler to Marie-Antoinette. The history of Chaumet has been entwined with the History of France ever since its founding in 1780, in Paris. Indeed, the Maison very quickly became the official jeweler to Empress Josephine, wife of Emperor Napoléon I.
The High Jewellery savoir-faire of the Maison has been passed down through generations of jewelers for almost 240 years. And it’s in 1907, that Joseph Chaumet chose to establish his Maison at 12 Place Vendôme —the center of the mythical Paris square. Today, this exceptional address continues to comprise the High Jewellery workshop, a boutique, and historic grand salons.
The Iconic Collection: Joséphine
Modern and free, Empress Joséphine has inspired Chaumet’s graceful and characterful creations for over two centuries. Echoing the inspirations of its muse, the Joséphine collection has introduced the tiara and the aigrette to a repertoire of contemporary jewelry.
Established in 1858 by Frédéric Boucheron, this legendary jeweler at 26, Place Vendome first stood at the Palais Royal in Paris, before moving to its current location in 1893. He established his business at the Hôtel de Nocé, which went on to be listed as a historical monument in 1930. Frédéric Boucheron quickly became well known for the exceptional quality of his precious stones.
The House has been prized by wealthy and royal clients for over 160 years. Particularly renowned for its hand-sculpted gold pieces, astonishingly fine gems, and ornately jeweled animals, Boucheron has also created unforgettable pieces, such as royal wedding necklaces, for its private clients.
Iconic Collection: Quatre
In 2004, the Quatre collection joined the Maison, adding its graphic signature and contemporary character to the Boucheron world. For this collection, the Maison was inspired by the design of Paris’s cobblestones. Shop Boucheron Quatre collection at Neiman Marcus.
Chanel is a French luxury brand founded by Coco Chanel, originally known as Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, in 1910. The brand is famous for its elegant, simple, exquisite style. In the 1940s Chanel was one of the Fench fashion designers that successfully pushed the “overcomplicated” womenswear to a simpler and more comfortable design. Chanel’s jewelry collections are a constant and classic representation of the brand.
Iconic Collection: Coco Crush
Coco Crush is a collection inspired by the quilted motif, an emblem of the House since 1955. Designed by the Chanel Fine Jewelry Creation Studio at 18 Place Vendôme, each Coco Crush piece is hand-polished and set to perfectly reflect light.
Victoire de Castellane, Creative Director of Fine Jewelry at Christian Dior is widely acknowledged for being able to combine the natural and fantastical worlds within her intricate designs. Her sparkling creations are all about femininity, elegance, and refinement, adorned with a delicately rendered bold touch.
“I can’t get attached to something that dies so quickly, so I make flowers that last forever.”—Victoire de Castellane
Iconic Collection: La Rose Dior
“Fortunately, there are flowers”—Christian Dior
For Christian Dior, the queen of all flowers, which perfumed and beautified his childhood, was none other than the rose. Fascinated by this floral odyssey, Victoire de Castellane embellishes and reimagines it through her jewelry creations.
Located along Rue de la Paix, De Grace isn’t exactly one of the most famous French luxury jewelry brands. This confidential yet highly prestigious Parisian jeweler was founded in the late 19th century and has been much sought after by wealthy and famous clients ever since. Since 1895, each and every little secret of the custom-made high jewelry has been passed down from father to son within the family de Grace. Noted for its delicate craftsmanship, ability to set truly extraordinary jewels in original and eye-catching yet tasteful ways, and discretion, De Grace certainly appears to merit its name.
Iconic Collection: The Bridal Collection
The bridal collection is sumptuous and elegant, featuring some truly extraordinary gems set in rings whose design draws on both classic and avant-garde codes.
Located at Place Vendome in the 1st arrondissement, Breguet is one of the world’s finest watchmakers, prized around the world for its exceptional handmade timepieces. Established by Abraham-Louis Breguet in the late 18th century, former watchmaker to the French royal court prior to the Revolution of 1789, Breguet successfully made a transition to the modern world by continuing to innovate through its long history. Countless famous patrons mark Breguet’s distinguished hall of fame, from Marie Antoinette to Napoleon I and Empress Josephine, Queen Victoria, and Sir Winston Churchill.
Et voilà! I hope this guide to the most prestigious French luxury jewelry brands will help you find your ideal piece of jewelry. If you have any questions, please add your comment below.
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Bonjour and welcome to Leonce Chenal, a modern lifestyle platform created and curated by a French woman for lovers of everything French. I’m Leonce, born and raised near Annecy, France. Through this website, I want to share with you the passion I have for my home country and for the French art de vivre. Merci for visiting and à bientôt! —Leonce