A trip through the art and emotion of the world’s top jewellery maisons

They say that “ A piece of jewellery is often a piece of art. But it only becomes valuable when emotions are added to it.’’ Jewellery may seem like an extravagance, but to many, it’s an art form that allows wearers to express themselves. It brings to mind memories, emotions and many times helps us express feelings accompanied by our inner strength.

The word “jewellery” is derived from the Latin word ‘jocale,’ meaning “plaything,” and the word jewel, which was anglicized during the 13th century from the Old French word “jouel.” The word “jewellery” is used to describe any piece of precious material (gemstones, noble metals, etc.) used to adorn one’s self.

The article and the photo gallery look at 15 extravagant jewellery brands that offer the most exquisite pieces in the world.

 

  1. Boucheron

 

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In 2018, La Maison Boucheron celebrated 160 years of design and creation. Founded in 1858 by Frédéric Boucheron, it is the oldest jewelry Maison in Place Vendôme (26 Place Vendôme). Through the years the brand has become known for its bold, free style and eye-catching designs. Up until the 2000s—when it was acquired by the Gucci Group and subsequently, Kering—Boucheron was one of the few remaining family-owned brands.

  1. Buccellati

 

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In 1919, Mario Buccellati opened his first jewellery boutique on Largo Santa Margherita in Milan. It was born from a merger of a father and son’s brands. Buccellati is recognizable for its lace rings and necklaces along with a special form of engraving called Rigato. A Chinese company bought a controlling 85 percent share in the Italian company in 2016.

  1. Bvlgari

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“Surprise,” “innovate” and “reinvent” have been part of Bulgari’s vocabulary since it was founded in Rome in 1884 by Sotirios Voulgarise. The sexiness of its shapes, the sharpness of its lines, the sparkle of coloured stones: all are used with a purpose to blend creativity and an Italian sense of extravaganza. A good example of the Italian extravaganza theme is explored in the Festa collection, which highlights the Italian’s love for joyful celebrations. Bulgari is known for mixing precious and semi-precious stones in a way that brings its remarkable pieces to life.

  1. Cartier

 

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Founded in 1846 in Paris by Louis François Cartier, the first Cartier boutique was opened in 1859. Later, Louis-François’ son Alfred took over the business, moving it to the prestigious Rue de la Paix in the jewellery district of Paris. The panther is Cartier’s most recognizable design. The brand is known for its loyalty to its Art-Deco history, but it creates several lines that celebrate the Old-World elegance as well.

  1. Chaumet

 

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La Maison of Chaumet is one of the oldest jewellery brands in the world, founded by Marie-Etienne Nitot in 1780. He created the jewellery that would offer the aristocracy of the French Empire the necessary splendour and power. Moreover, la Maison creates precious jewellery and watch collections that reflect Parisian elegance and excellence. Chaumet is famous for its transformable high jewellery pieces and unique timepieces.

  1. Chopard

 

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The Swiss Maison of Chopard was founded in 1860 by Louis-Ulysse Chopard. In 1963, Chopard was sold to watchmaker Karl Scheufele, and his kin still own the brand to this day. La Maison’s extraordinary timepieces helped build a reputation of reliability and quality for Swiss-made products.

  1. De Beers

 

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De Beers began the search for nature’s most exquisite and magnificent prizes over 125 years ago. La Maison is known for its exceptional diamonds and  popular for its high jewellery, and calls itself  “The Jeweller of Light.” In addition to jewellery making, the De Beers Group is involved in diamond mining. Through the years, the brand has discovered a couple of legendary diamonds that have become famous such as the 203.04-carat Millenium Star.

  1. De Grisogono

 

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De Grisogono is a Swiss luxury jeweller. It was founded in Geneva, in 1993 by black diamond specialist Fawaz Gruosi. Under the brand, Gruosi makes otherworldly pieces that use bold design and unique materials mixed with bespoke craftsmanship. One of his most famous pieces, a 163.41-carat Flawless D-Colour diamond necklace, cut from the historic 404-carat diamond, known as the “Art of de Grisogono, Creation 1,” sold for a record-breaking $33.7 million in a 2017’s Christie’s sale.

  1. Garrard

 

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La Maison of Garrard is one of the oldest jewellery brands in the world. Its origins can be traced back to 1735, when master silversmith George Wicks opened a store on Panton Street in London. It was in this year that the firm received its first royal commission from Frederick, Prince of Wales. Every piece of Garrard is developed to achieve a balance between tradition and design so as to bring out the natural beauty of the stones. The result is a quintessentially British hallmark of heritage, detail and craft.

  10.Graff 

 

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Laurence Graff is the founder of Graff house in London in 1960. His fascination with the emotional power of gemstones has transformed Graff into a global hallmark of innovation, creativity and craftsmanship. What makes Graff’s collection special is not just the craftsmanship or the quality of the gemstones and metals used. Rather, it’s the size of the stones Graff uses in its jewellery line.

   11.Harry Winston

 

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Founded in New York City in 1932, by Mr. Harry Winston – an innate gemologist, an intuitive business man – the brand continues to set the standard for the ultimate in fine jewellery and high-end watchmaking. Winston was known throughout his life as the “King of Diamonds” and the “Jeweler to the Stars.” Today, La Maison continues its tradition of creativity, rarity, and quality without compromise in its retail salons around the world.

   12.Mikimoto

 

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Founded in 1893, by the pearl king, Kokichi Mikimoto. His quest for perfection and his love for these pure, lustrous gems of the sea were the guiding forces that built the Maison. Today, Mikimoto is the foremost producer of the finest quality cultured pearls and a world leader in the design of exceptional jewellery. Each piece of Mikimoto reflects the purity of the ocean and the mystery of creation.

   13. Piaget

 

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The Maison is a Swiss luxury watchmaker and jeweller. Founded in 1874 by Georges Piaget in the village of La Côte-aux-Fées, Piaget is currently a subsidiary of the Swiss Richemont group. Piaget has established itself in the world of luxury jewellery and watches by producing excellent and timeless pieces.

   14. Tiffany&Co

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Founded by Charles Lewis Tiffany in 1837, the first Tiffany & Co store opened in New York City. The brand is renowned for its luxury goods and is particularly known for its diamond and sterling silver jewellery. It markets itself as an arbiter of taste and style.

   15.Van Cleef & Arpels

 

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Founded in 1906 by Alfred Van Cleef and his uncle Salomon Arpels in Paris. La Maison has always remained faithful to the values of creation, expertise and transmission. Inspired by the Maison’s unique identity and heritage, each jewellery and watch collection tells a story with universal meaning to express a poetic view of life. Van Cleef & Arpels is mostly popular for its Alhambra motif—a classic symbol of luck, true love, health, and wealth—that’s seen in necklaces, pearls, and earrings.

 

Photo credit:

  1. Boucheron website, viewed April 2nd 2019.
  2. Buccellati  website, viewed April 2nd 2019.
  3. Bulgari website, viewed April 2nd 2019.
  4. Cartier website, viewed April 2nd 2019.
  5. Chalet website, viewed April 2nd 2019.
  6. Chopard website, viewed April 2nd 2019.
  7. De Beers website, viewed April 2nd 2019.
  8. De Grisogono website, viewed April 2nd 2019.
  9. Gerrard website, viewed April 2nd 2019.
  10. Graff website, viewed April 2nd 2019.
  11. Harry Winston website, viewed April 2nd 2019.
  12. Mikimoto website, viewed April 2nd 2019.
  13. Piaget website, viewed April 2nd 2019.
  14. Tiffany&Co website, viewed April 2nd 2019.
  15. Van Cleef & Arpels website, viewed April 2nd 2019.

Is renting the new buying ?

Who made my clothes? And how are they disposed of? These are questions we’re hearing more and more often as we talk about how  fashion harms the environment. Hence, what can we do to stop it from getting worse?

The fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world, after oil. It’s because retailers restock collections every 4-6 weeks, enticing us to buy more and think less, leaving a huge amount of unwanted clothing to get rid of at landfill sites. Since the 20th century, apparel has progressively been seen as disposable, and it has become extremely globalised, with garments and accessories designed in one country, manufactured in another and sold worldwide. Hence, globalization makes fashion cheaper and more disposable.

Regrettably, we all know that disposable fashion is damaging the environment: 100 billion items of clothing are being produced every year and 50 per cent of fast fashion is disposed of within a year. In addition, we consume about 80 billion new pieces of clothing annually – 400% more than we were consuming just two decades ago.

Fast fashion is a term used by fashion retailers to describe it as an industry that focuses on speed and low-cost prices in order to deliver familiar new collections inspired by recent runway looks and new style trends seen on celebrities. However, fast fashion  especially awful for the environment. At the same time, luxury brands are destroying millions of dollars’ worth of apparel and perfume in order to prevent them being discounted on the secondary market which lowers their allure. Moreover, big fashion production houses that manufacture clothes for mass consumption don’t just damage the environment but also choose quantity over quality for gains.

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Of course, things are developing as the fashion industry becomes aware of its impact on our Earth. For example, many fashion brands and fashion groups have recently released their strategies for the future such as LVMH, Kering, Zara and H&M that contains a significant contribution in creating a more sustainable world and cooperating for the good of employees, suppliers and shoppers. 

Rent, Repair, Reuse, Repeat

Clothing rental could be the key to a sustainable fashion. A lifetime of fashion product is being extended as pre-owned, repaired and rental business models like Rent the Runway begin to grow. Consumers are shifting away from traditional ownership to most up to date ways in which to approach product. This shift to modern ownership models is driven by enlarging shopper desire and wish for diversity, accessibility and sustainability. Nowadays, young people lust for freshness and innovation, hence, they are more interested in sustainable apparel than older consumers. Rental, reuse and resale models expand the product lifecycle and duration of use as long as offering the freshness shopper desire.

Without a doubt, Stella McCartney is the founder of the sustainable luxury movement. The vegetarian-friendly designer stated that “each decision we make is a symbol of our commitment to defining what the future of fashion looks like. From never using leather or fur and pioneering new alternative materials to utilising cutting edge technologies, pushing towards circularity”. Other luxury players such as Richemont group have acquired rental businesses  in order to seize power of how their products and brands are marketed on the secondary market.

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Express is betting on the resale or rental market, launching “Express Style Trial,” which permits shoppers to rent up to three items at any moment for a monthly fee.

Eventually, Rental shopping could keep you on top of trends, as well as helping the environment and saving the planet in the process. Is rental fashion the future?

 

 

Photo credit:

  1. Vogue, photographed by Tim Walker. viewed February 7th 2019,. 
  2. China landfill with clothes. Migrant Workers Children Spend Childhood Scavenging Landfill, viewed February 7th 2019,. 
  3. A Stella McCartney campaign shot in a Scottish landfill site to raise awareness of waste and over-consumption. Photograph: Harley Weir and Urs Fischer for Stella McCartney, viewed February 7th 2019,. 

Expo Milano 2015: the perfect opportunity for China to start investing in Italy

Expo Milano 2015 gets started on May 1 and continues until October 31. The exposition site, which covers one million square metres on the western outskirts of Milan (in the Municipality of Rho), will remain open every day from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

There will be 54 pavilions managed autonomously by individual countries to valorise the tradition of their own food culture, to which an additional seven companies and associations will be added; there will be nine themed clusters that include countries that share a similar agricultural identity (from coffee to cereals, chocolate to rice and more); lastly, there will be four themed pavilions, the Zero Pavilion, the Future Food District, the Children’s Park and the Biodiversity Pavilion. The Palazzo Italia will be the heart of the Expo: the large exposition area is made up of polyhedral shapes that fit into each other.

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Continue reading “Expo Milano 2015: the perfect opportunity for China to start investing in Italy”

M&A’s in Luxury? Italian brands the victims of the last 20 years

A definition of luxury comes from Euromonitor delimiting it to 75 large companies present in different areas, for a total revenues of $ 200 billion, with an average figure of 2,3mld and with smaller companies that bill around 200 million.

The first ten companies of this list account for 55% of the totality of the brands; all luxury companies except for Chanel are included in the list. LVMH is the biggest with a value of 21 billion dollars. Italy is only represented by Luxottica taking the fourth place on the list. The second position is taken by the Swiss Richemont, followed by Estée Lauder, ending finally with Swatch Group and Kering.

Since 2000, the process of M&A’s are driven by three factors: globalization of the brand, vertical integration, consolidation to achieve economies of scale.

Continue reading “M&A’s in Luxury? Italian brands the victims of the last 20 years”

A great opportunity: make-up for men

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In recent years the masculine gender is getting closer to the female one in look, lifestyle and treatments that contemporaneous men give themselves. In this sense, the sector that has the highest potential is cosmetics. Men today spend on average as much as the gentle sex and in some countries like UK even more. Continue reading “A great opportunity: make-up for men”

Food and Fashion by E. Marinella

In the last years fashion brands have largely exploited the relationship with food.
Today I will talk about E. Marinella, who will make the official tie for the Expo 2015. The Neapolitan brand has been chosen for designing the tie that will be given to the authorities and the representatives of the participant countries as a symbol of the Italian taste.
“Being chosen as official supplier of a worldwide event such as Expo is for us a great honour and reason of national pride, but also of great responsibility. With our ties we spread Italian taste, culture and style in the world”, says Maurizio Marinella, CEO of the company and nephew of the founder.

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Brunello Cucinelli and the Renaissance of Manufacturing

Friday the 20th of March, a particular business interview took place in one of the most beautiful buildings of Vicenza. In the context of the Festival Città Impresa, Brunello Cucinelli was invited to talk with Stefano Micelli about his entrepreneurial vision at the palladian Olimpic Theatre.

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Kiton’s woman: back to the 70’s in a Tamara de Lempicka mood.

“Là, tout n’est qu’ordre et beauté,
Luxe, calme et volupté”

These lines from Invitation au voyage by Charles Baudelaire summarize the mood of Kiton’s presentation of the woman collection at the fashion week in Milan.
The 28th of February, in via Pontaccio 21 at Palazzo Kiton, three coloured theme rooms introduced the palette of the collection: green, blue and spicy orange. In these rooms, models were sitting on sofas and looking around, acting as spectators more than protagonists. Kiton’s woman looks like a woman of Tamara de Lempicka painting, elegant and voluptuous, set in the 70’s described as the most appreciated years from the brand.

The rarefied atmosphere is that of a piece of art, that beyond giving intellectual and sensorial pleasure, is also able to involve the actual spectator to the point of becoming part of the artistic context.  Continue reading “Kiton’s woman: back to the 70’s in a Tamara de Lempicka mood.”

Fashion&Food @mmfw2015, why not?

People passionate with fashion and food know that from the 2013, during the Milano Woman Fashion Weeks #MWFW, you can find a great culinary event called “Good Food in Good Fashion”.

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This event is promoted by the Association Maestro Martino (project named by the creative renaissance chef of the Duchy of Milan) in collaboration with EXPO2015 and during these weeks you can find a series of aperitifs based on local products in the most prestigious 5-star hotels in Milan. The Event is open to the public and it costs around 20 Euro.

Continue reading “Fashion&Food @mmfw2015, why not?”

D20

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I want to dedicate this post to the brand which opened the Milan’s men fashion week, Dsquared. The brand celebrated its 20 years anniversary with an amazing show-party in the Hangar Bicocca contemporary art gallery. The two Canadian twins, Dean and Dan Caten, who founded in 1995 one of the coolest and stylish brands in the fashion industry, were able to grow really fast and smart, making their brand image stronger through the years.
Continue reading “D20”