What is High Jewelry?When it comes to the most luxurious type of jewelry, high jewelry refers to the unique one-of-a-kind pieces from big name houses. But of course, these rare necklaces and rings and earrings can be confused with fine jewelry. So, what is high jewelry vs fine jewelry? The distinction is marginal, but it boils down to meticulous craftsmanship, incorporating the absolute best materials and creative thinking. Essentially, high jewelry is like haute couture fashions or a Rolls Royce: a significant step up in artistry and quality. Considered the highest form of jewelry, these pieces are the most expensive on the market, as they are usually one-of-a-kind. The cost of precious materials and overall craftsmanship allows these pieces to command the highest prices.
High JewelersWhile many high jewelry designers are known exclusively for their work in the realm of jewels and metals, it is not uncommon for other types of designers to try their hand at the craft. Names such as Chanel, Dior and Versace are typically associated with lavish garments and handbags, yet these designers also had a keen talent for jewelry creation.
Chanel and VerduraOne such garment designer who has seamlessly crossed into the world of jewelry production is Coco Chanel. Having already established her fashion line, Chanel began dabbling with jewelry production. It was during this time of exploration that Chanel noticed the incredible talent of one of her textile designers, Duke Fulco di Verdura. Chanel promoted Verdura to the head designer of jewelry, and the pair began their entrance into the world of high jewelry. Today, Chanel’s high jewelry collection is regarded as one of the most beautiful and creative collections, and it is still keeping with Coco's legacy.
Another fashion giant who crossed into the world of rubies and diamonds is Christian Dior. Founded in Paris in 1947, the House of Dior began producing incredible styles that entranced the fashion world. Dior believed that jewelry, like clothing, was an integral part of an outfit. Therefore, he designed pieces to add to his collections that would serve as a part of an entire look. The brand opened its own jewelry division in 1998, and it has been captivating jewelry lovers since.
HermèsHermès is another name synonymous with high fashion. Although the brand focused on manufacturing riding equipment, such as saddles and bridles, at its foundation in 1837, Hermès gradually expanded into the world of clothing and, you guessed it, bags. Known especially for its Kelly and Birkin bags, Hermès is a giant in the industry. Today, Hermès is highly established and praised for its quality and distinctive branding.
JARJoel Arthur Rosenthal is a standout in the world of high jewelry. Starting out in the textile industry, Rosenthal began his career as a jeweler producing for big-name fashion houses such as Hermès and Valentino. Immersed in a world of style and glamor, Rosenthal opened his very own jewelry salon in 1997. Now known as JAR, the designer's work is characterized by its unique and complicated compositions and innovative materials. JAR is an incredibly elusive and exclusive creator, and his output is only around 70 to 80 pieces per year––contributing to the true meaning of a high jewelry collection. Each of his designs is unique and created with a specific client in mind, making his works incredibly personal.
These two pairs of earrings truly convey JAR's eccentric style, combining bold colors and patterns into an elaborate piece. Each of his works are painstakingly crafted to be a marvel of aesthetics, something truly visually stunning. These spinel earrings clearly showcase his genius. The pair of striped multi-colored sapphire earrings are one of JAR's most famous works, designed specifically for Elizabeth Taylor. He intended for the array of cool colors to compliment the actress' striking blue eyes, and they are yet another example of his creativity.
Van Cleef & Arpels
When Estelle Arpels, the daughter of a precious stone dealer, married Alfred Van Cleef, the son of a craftsman and diamond broker, the timeless and sought-after high jewelry collection was born. A shared precious stone passion led the two to open their first boutique with Parisian elegance. The delicate, feminine, classic pieces created by this high jewelry house have earned it the name and fame it deserves for over a century. Since its first appearance, Van Cleef & Arpels has become a leader in high jewelry.