More than just ornamentation for the body, jewelry has long served as a palette for artistic expression. From Bulgari to Cartier to Harry Winston, the world's famous jewelers have created pieces of bejeweled art that have captured the attention of collectors worldwide, as well as the imagination of those who appreciate fine jewelry.
Acquiring fame as an expert in precious stones, Frederic Boucheron opened his first jewelry salon at the Palais Royal in 1858. The masterful creator of beautiful jewelry, Boucheron also set up shop at the Place Vendome in 1893, which is still in successful operation today. Boucheron branches are also located in Moscow, Japan, London, and the Far East. Historical international expositions included exhibitions of Boucheron's pieces, including the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial, the 1889 and 1990 Expositions Universelle, and the 1925 Exposition des Arts Decoratifs, all in Paris.
Sotirio Bulgari of Greece began his firm in 1879 when he moved to Rome to open his first shop in Via Sistina. Bulgari's distinctive style was carried on by his sons after his death in 1932. Bulgari jewelry-lovers admire the firm's classical and Renaissance-inspired art, which features colors and patterns found in mosaics. Bulgari is also famous for transforming ancient coins into jewels. Bulgari boutiques grace Geneva, Hong Kong, London, Milan, New York, Paris, Singapore, and Tokyo. In 1998, a Bulgari diamond and colored diamond brooch auctioned at Christie's for $1,186,400.
Renowned French jewelry and watch maker, Cartier may have gotten its start in 1847 by Louis-Francois Cartier, but it took it his grandsons Louis, Pierre and Jacques to build Cartier into the world famous empire it is today. Throughout its history, Cartier has undergone continued changes which have made it an international phenomenon. In 1983, the Cartier Museum was initiated; and in 1993, Cartier became a part of the Vendome Luxury Group.
Official jeweler to Napoleon:Chaumet was originally founded under another name. This jewelry firm captured favor for its grandiose creations and royal clientele including the Empress Josephine and later Empress Marie-Louise. Following the fall of Napoleon, the firm garnered continued acclaim under the direction of Jean-Baptiste Fossin and his son, Jules. Both were artists in their right who captured a spirit of Romanticism in their jeweled creations. In 1889, Joseph Chaumet, a Bordeaux jeweler took over the company and changed its name to Chaumet. The successful change in ownership thrust Chaumet onto the international scene, serving as jeweler to European royal houses and winning copious awards at international exhibitions.
Creating jewelry with some of the rarest gems available, Graff Diamonds was founded in London in 1960. The revered firm has handled some of the world's most treasured gemstones, including The Idol's Eye, The Emperor Maximillian, and The Begum Blue. The jewelry maker's glamorous style is a result of its highly skilled in-house craftsmen. In 2002, a pair of Graff diamond and emerald ear-pendants sold at auction for $772,000. The House of Graff has locations in London, New York City, Monte Carlo, Dubai, and Moscow.
Tiffany & Co.
While Tiffany & Co. may have begun as a fancy goods store in the 1800s, by the 1950s Tiffany & Co. had captured its emphasis on the jewelry business. Its most famous pieces were created and sold by the founder's son, Louis Comfort Tiffany. However, other esteemed jewelry designers, as well as renowned gemologist George Frederick Kunz were later instrumental in propelling Tiffany & Co. to international jewelry stardom. Today, Tiffany & Co. can be found in more than 100 locations worldwide.
At only 24 years of age, Harry Winston opened his first jewelry store in New York City. A little more than a decade later, Winston established a company under his own name. Here, he handled such famous diamonds as the Jonker, the Taylor-Burton, the Star of Sierra Leone, and the Vargas. He was also responsible for donating The Hope, The Portuguese and, the Oppenheimer diamonds to the Smithsonian. Known as the "King of Diamonds," Winston owned nearly one third of all the famous museum diamonds at one time or another. After his father's death, Ronald Winston continued the Winston dynasty, expanding into additional markets in Tokyo and Beverly Hills.
While some of the world's most famous jewelers have made their mark in history, many local jewelers also carry on this tradition of beauty - fashioning jewelry that delights and commemorates. Whether famous globally or just well-known to a local community, artists in jewels are part of a long legacy - creating today's jewelry for tomorrow.
Lewis Jewelers is proud to carry the full line of Pandora Jewelry. Pandora bracelets, Pandora charms and Pandora beads are only a part of the collection. For more information, Lewis Jewelers, 2000 West Stadium Blvd., Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48103, 877-88-LEWIS or visit the website.