If you’re ready to invest in quality jewelry that will last a lifetime, then these are the French luxury jewelry brands to visit for the best French jewelry you can buy. France has a long history of luxury jewelry making. Some of the world’s most sought-after high jewelry companies have been based in France since many centuries ago. People from all over the world travel to France to visit the luxury jewelry shops concentrated around the 17th-century plaza Place Vendôme to shop the French luxury jewelry boutiques in Paris and pick up France’s coveted fine jewelry.
Here are the best French luxury jewelry brands you must know about if you love necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings, and more. These prestigious jewelers make some of the world’s most coveted jewelry pieces. Each of these brands would be excellent for shopping for your first piece of investment jewelry!
Cartier is the jewelry house most people have in mind when they think of French luxury jewelry brands. Cartier has established itself as the most coveted jeweler in the world.
Cartier was founded by Louis-François Cartier in Paris in 1847. His three grandsons worked to establish the Cartier name worldwide. Louis Cartier oversaw Parisian operations from the jeweler’s Rue de La Paix branch in 1899. Pierre Cartier set up the Cartier New York City branch in 1909. Jacques Cartier handled Cartier’s London operations.
In the 1950s, American actress turned Monegasque princess Grace Kelly’s 12-carat emerald-cut, diamond engagement ring was chosen by Prince Rainier from Cartier. Grace Kelly famously wore the Cartier ring in her last movie High Society (1956) as well as while posing for the MGM publicity photos.
The savoir-faire of this French 19th-century jeweler lives on today. Here are some of the most famous Cartier jewelry creations:
- Love Bracelet: The Love Bracelet is perhaps one of Cartier’s most recognizable and iconic designs. Introduced in the 1970s, this bracelet features a distinctive screw motif and is meant to be worn as a symbol of everlasting love. The Love Bracelet has become a symbol of commitment and is often seen as a must-have piece among jewelry enthusiasts.
- Panthère de Cartier: The Panthère de Cartier collection captures the grace and strength of the panther, a longstanding symbol of the brand. The collection includes jewelry adorned with panther motifs, often featuring black lacquer spots and emerald eyes. The Panthère de Cartier pieces are known for their sleek and bold designs.
- Trinity Ring: The Trinity Ring is a classic Cartier design that symbolizes love, friendship, and loyalty. Composed of three intertwined bands in yellow gold, white gold, and rose gold, the Trinity Ring represents the eternal nature of these relationships. This iconic design has been celebrated since its creation in 1924.
- Juste un Clou: The Juste un Clou collection is inspired by the humble nail and reimagines it as a piece of high-end jewelry. The collection includes bracelets, rings, earrings, and necklaces crafted with sleek, nail-shaped motifs. Juste un Clou pieces are often seen as bold and modern, appealing to those who appreciate contemporary designs with a touch of edge.
- Santos de Cartier: The Santos de Cartier collection pays tribute to the aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont and features watches and jewelry with a distinct geometric aesthetic. The Santos watch, characterized by its square case and exposed screws, is an iconic timepiece that has become synonymous with Cartier’s watchmaking expertise.
- Ballon Bleu de Cartier: The Ballon Bleu de Cartier collection showcases Cartier’s expertise in creating elegant and sophisticated timepieces. Known for its rounded case, crown with a blue cabochon-shaped sapphire, and Roman numeral dial, the Ballon Bleu watch has become a popular choice among watch enthusiasts.
Chaumet is a luxury French jewelry brand founded by Frenchman Marie-Étienne Nitot. Nitot studied as an apprentice under Ange-Joseph Aubert, jeweler to Marie-Antoinette. He then became the official jeweler to the former French Emperor Napoleon and Empress Joséphine before founding the House of Chaumet.
Since 1780, Chaumet has created luxury tiaras, precious jewelry, and exquisite watches. It was the first business to move into the prestigious Place Vendôme in 1812, at number 15 which currently houses the Hotel Ritz. In the mid-1800s, jewelry design by the house of Chaumet echoed the period’s Romantic art, influenced by the beauty of nature. In 1907, Joseph Chaumet chose to move the jewelry house to number 12 Place Vendôme, its current location. Chaumet joined the LVMH group in 1999.
Here are some of the notable and iconic Chaumet jewelry creations:
- Tiara of Empress Joséphine: One of Chaumet’s most famous pieces is the Tiara of Empress Joséphine. Created in 1811, it was commissioned by Emperor Napoléon Bonaparte for his wife, Empress Joséphine. This tiara showcases intricate craftsmanship, featuring laurel wreaths, flowers, and diamond clusters. It symbolizes the elegance and grandeur of the Napoleonic era.
- Joséphine Collection: Inspired by Empress Joséphine, Chaumet created the Joséphine collection, which embodies her style and grace. The collection includes rings, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings adorned with diamonds and colorful gemstones. The designs often incorporate delicate motifs, such as tiaras, ribbons, and flowers, paying homage to the Empress’s love for nature and beauty.
- Bee My Love Collection: Thehttps://www.chaumet.com/en/the-origin-of-the-hortensia-collection Bee My Love collection is one of Chaumet’s contemporary and iconic lines. It features hexagonal shapes inspired by honeycombs and incorporates a bee motif, symbolizing community and unity. The collection includes rings, bracelets, earrings, and pendants, often embellished with diamonds and vibrant gemstones.
- Hortensia Collection: The Hortensia collection by Chaumet draws inspiration from the beautiful hydrangea flower. It showcases intricate craftsmanship and vibrant gemstones, such as pink sapphires, rubies, and diamonds. The collection includes rings, necklaces, earrings, and brooches, capturing the delicate beauty of the hydrangea.
- Liens Collection: The Liens collection represents the bond between two individuals. It features elegant, interlocking links that symbolize love, friendship, and connections. The Liens collection includes rings, bracelets, necklaces, and earrings, often crafted with precious metals and adorned with diamonds.
- Attrape-moi… si tu m’aimes Collection: Translated as “Catch Me… if You Love Me,” this collection is characterized by playful and whimsical designs. The pieces feature diamond-studded bows and ribbons, capturing the essence of romance and seduction.
Van Cleef & Arpels
French luxury jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels was founded in 1896 by Dutchman Alfred Van Cleef, a diamond-cutter, and his father-in-law Salomon Arpels in Paris, France. In 1906, Alfred Van Cleef married Estelle Arpels, and the Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry house set up shop at Place Vendôme.
Here are some of their most famous and iconic creations:
- Alhambra Collection: The Alhambra collection is perhaps Van Cleef & Arpels’ most recognizable and iconic line. It features the distinctive quatrefoil motif, inspired by the cloverleaf, and is often crafted with various materials like gold, mother-of-pearl, onyx, and gemstones. The Alhambra necklace, bracelets, and earrings are highly sought after and have become symbols of timeless elegance.
- Zip Necklace: The Zip necklace is a masterpiece of Van Cleef & Arpels’ creativity and technical prowess. It was inspired by the zip fastener, it can be worn both as a necklace and as a bracelet when unzipped. In the 1930s, the house’s Artistic Director Renée Puissant designed this piece after a suggestion from the Duchess of Windsor. The Zip necklace is a remarkable example of the brand’s ability to transform everyday objects into extraordinary jewelry.
- Ballerina Brooches: Van Cleef & Arpels is known for its enchanting ballerina brooches. These delicate and graceful pieces depict dancers in mid-pose, showcasing intricate details and vibrant gemstones. The ballerina brooches exemplify the brand’s dedication to craftsmanship and capture the elegance and movement of ballet.
- Mystery Set: Van Cleef & Arpels developed the Mystery Set technique, which allows gemstones to be set without any visible prongs, creating a seamless and vibrant display of color. The Mystery Set pieces often feature a cascade of gemstones, such as rubies, sapphires, and emeralds, and are highly coveted for their rarity and meticulous craftsmanship.
- Poetic Complications Watches: Van Cleef & Arpels combines the art of jewelry making with watchmaking to create their Poetic Complications watches. These timepieces feature intricate mechanical movements along with enchanting design elements, such as miniature paintings, rotating dials, and delicate gemstone accents.
- Snowflake Suite: The Snowflake Suite is a dazzling collection that captures the beauty and delicacy of snowflakes. Featuring diamonds and other precious gemstones, these pieces often take the form of necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and rings, showcasing the brand’s mastery in creating intricate and ethereal designs.
Boucheron is a luxury French jeweler originally founded by Frédéric Boucheron in 1858, in Paris, France. Boucheron opened his first jewelry store in Galerie de Valois, near the Palais-Royal of Paris, during the Second Empire of Napoleon III. Boucheron launched a formal workshop in 1866. He was awarded a Gold Medal during the Exposition Universelle of 1867, an international fair to showcase the world’s innovations. From Russian princes to Queen Elizabeth II, Boucheron has a history of serving royal patrons from around the world.
Here are some of the iconic Boucheron jewelry creations:
- Serpent Collection: Boucheron’s Serpent Collection is inspired by the captivating allure of snakes. The collection showcases serpent-inspired designs, often featuring coils, scales, and mesmerizing gemstone eyes. The Serpent motif is seen in rings, bracelets, necklaces, and watches, representing rebirth, wisdom, and eternal love.
- Quatre Collection: The Quatre Collection is a contemporary and iconic line by Boucheron. It features a combination of stacked bands, each representing a different Boucheron style. The Quatre collection incorporates various textures, including Clou de Paris (hobnail pattern), Grosgrain (ribbon pattern), and Quatre Radiant Edition (radiant pattern). The collection represents the brand’s rich heritage and is loved for its versatility and modern appeal.
- Reflet Watch: The Reflet Watch is a signature timepiece by Boucheron. Known for its rectangular case and distinctive gadroons on the sides, the Reflet Watch showcases a timeless elegance. The watch features a hidden crown, which is revealed when the case is tilted, adding a touch of intrigue to the design.
- Ava Gardner’s Necklace: Boucheron gained recognition in Hollywood when they created a stunning necklace for actress Ava Gardner in 1951. This necklace, known as the “Tears of the Stars,” featured a cascading design of diamonds and emeralds. It became one of Boucheron’s most iconic and celebrated pieces.
- Quatre Radiant Edition Ring: The Quatre Radiant Edition Ring is a standout design within the Quatre collection. It features yellow, white, and pink gold bands, each adorned with radiant motifs. The ring symbolizes the harmonious blend of different styles and colors, making it a distinctive and sought-after Boucheron piece.
- Trouble Perfume Bottle: Boucheron is also known for its exceptional craftsmanship in creating luxurious perfume bottles. The Trouble Perfume Bottle, introduced in 1991, is a notable example. It features a stunning design inspired by the curves of a woman’s body and is adorned with precious gemstones, showcasing the brand’s ability to merge jewelry and fragrance artistry.
Louis-Ulysse Chopard founded his eponymous luxury watchmaking and jewelry company in 1860 in the French-speaking region of Switzerland. Even though it’s technically a Swiss jewelry brand, it holds a place in the hearts of many French people. This Swiss jewelry brand has become synonymous with luxury in France, and its Place Vendôme store is frequented by wealthy Parisians and travelers alike. Chopard has sponsored the Cannes Film Festival since 1998. The Trophée Chopard prize is awarded to two promising young actors and Chopard is responsible for crafting the Palme d’Or trophy, the festival’s highest award given to the best film of the year.
Here are some of the most notable Chopard jewelry creations:
- Happy Diamonds: The Happy Diamonds collection is one of Chopard’s most iconic and beloved designs. It features diamonds that are free-floating within transparent sapphire crystals, creating a playful and whimsical effect. The Happy Diamonds line includes necklaces, pendants, rings, earrings, and watches, showcasing Chopard’s expertise in combining luxury and joy.
- Animal World: Chopard is known for its Animal World collection, which celebrates the beauty and charm of various animals. This collection includes a wide range of jewelry pieces featuring animal motifs such as elephants, monkeys, birds, and butterflies. The designs often incorporate colorful gemstones and meticulous craftsmanship, bringing these creatures to life.
- Red Carpet Collection: The Red Carpet Collection by Chopard is unveiled each year at the Cannes Film Festival. It showcases Chopard’s exceptional craftsmanship and features breathtaking high jewelry pieces adorned with diamonds, precious gemstones, and intricate designs. The Red Carpet Collection represents the brand’s commitment to glamour and elegance.
- Happy Hearts: The Happy Hearts collection combines Chopard’s signature floating diamonds with heart-shaped motifs. This collection includes necklaces, bracelets, rings, and earrings, featuring hearts filled with free-moving diamonds or colorful gemstones. The Happy Hearts line symbolizes love, joy, and positive energy.
- Ice Cube: The Ice Cube collection is known for its sleek and modern design aesthetic. Inspired by urban architecture, the collection features square and rectangular-shaped jewelry pieces, often embellished with diamonds. The Ice Cube line offers a contemporary and minimalist style for those who appreciate bold geometric designs.
- La Strada: La Strada is a collection that pays homage to the beauty and sophistication of Italian cinema. Inspired by the movie “La Strada” by Federico Fellini, the collection features flowing lines and sensual curves. La Strada jewelry includes necklaces, bracelets, rings, and earrings, capturing the essence of timeless elegance.
French girls love wearing delicate jewelry, and these historic heritage brands from France are largely responsible for setting jewelry design trends and influencing today’s younger French jewelry designers. I hope you can own a piece from one of them that you will cherish!