Do you know your antique jewelry history? Here is a list of the top antique jewelry houses (brands) that collectors are still passionate about. This list only includes the most famous antique jewelry houses that are still in business.
Founded in 1919 by Mario Buccellati. The talented Goldsmith opened his first boutique in Milan in Largo Santa Margherita. He soon opened up in Rome and Florence. In 1954 he opened up a store on 5th Ave in Manhattan.
Their techniques are borrowed from five centuries of Italian art, and their jewelry is both detailed and immaculate.
Van Cleef & Arpels
Van Cleef & Arpels (VCA) was founded in 1896 by Alfred Van Cleef and his uncle Salomon Arpels. Alfred and Esther’s daughter, Renée Puissant, took over the company’s artistic direction in 1926.
On December 2, 1933, Van Cleef and Arpels were granted a patent for a proprietary gem setting style they call Serti Mysterieux, or “Mystery Setting”, a technique that uses a setting where the prongs are invisible. Their pieces often feature flowers, animals, and fairies and have been worn by style icons such as the Duchess of Windsor, Grace Kelly, and Elizabeth Taylor.
Today, VCA is one of the most important brands in the fine jewelry world. Click here to view our vintage VCA cocktail ring.
Founded in Paris in 1847 by Louis Francois Cartier. Louis’s son, Alfred, and his three sons were responsible for some of the company’s most celebrated designs, like the mystery clocks, fashionable wristwatches, and exotic orientalist Art Deco designs, including the colorful “Tutti Frutti” jewels.
Cartier has a long history of sales to royalty and celebrities. King Edward VII of England referred to Cartier as “the jeweler of kings and the king of jewelers.” To date, they remain one of the most important jewelry companies in the world and among the oldest high jewelry houses in Paris!
Click here to view our collection of Cartier Engagement Rings.
Tiffany & Co
Founded by Charles Lewis Tiffany and John B. Young in New York City in 1837 as a “stationery and fancy goods emporium,” the store initially sold a wide variety of stationery items and operated as “Tiffany, Young and Ellis” in Lower Manhattan.
The name was shortened to Tiffany & Company in 1853 when Charles Tiffany took control and established the firm’s emphasis on jewelry. Tiffany is renowned for its luxury goods and is particularly known for its diamond jewelry.
Since 1940, Tiffany’s flagship store has been located at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street in Manhattan, New York.
The polished granite exterior is well known for its window displays, and the store has been the location for several films, including Breakfast at Tiffany’s, starring Audrey Hepburn, and Sweet Home Alabama, starring Reese Witherspoon.
We have in our collection a few rare Vintage Tiffany Jewelry pieces.
Though not technically considered antique, Graff is one of the most important collectible jewelry houses of the past 80 years. Founded in 1960 by Laurence Graff, this famed jewelry house has handcrafted many of the most notable showstoppers in the world. Notorious for pursuing the most elusive diamonds in the world, Graff is still one of the most important locations for the most particular clients.
To date, Graff Diamonds have over 50 locations around the world.
Bulgari (or Bvlgari) was founded by Sotirios Boulgaris in 1881. Located in Rome, Bulgari has fashioned some of the most beautiful pieces of jewelry. Their style is very distinct, and their fine vintage jewelry pieces still fetch a very high price. Many creative motifs were first started by Bulgari before the other large jewelry houses initiated the design.
Their headquarters are still located in Rome, but they have stores all across the world. They still produce their characteristic bold and powerful jewelry.
Chaumet is one of the oldest Jewelry Houses that are still in business. Founded by Marie-Étienne Nitot in 1780, and located in France, this jewelry house is responsible for providing jewelry to the most powerful Kings of its time.
Chaumet still creates famous jewelry motifs like the bee, spider, Josephine, and Napoleon. Antique Chaumet jewelry is very collectible and desirable.
What is your favorite jewelry house? Tell us in the comments below!