Fine Jewelry Designers: Facts & History



As an international jewelry company, J.S. Fearnley specializes in rare antique jewelry, fine colored gemstones, and the best estate jewelry from history’s premier jewelry designers such as Cartier, Buccellati, and Van Cleef & Arpels, to name just a few. Here are some fun facts and history about some of the world’s most prestigious fine jewelry designers.


Fun Facts & History About History’s Premier Fine Jewelry Designers



Founded in Paris in 1847 by Louis-François Cartier, luxury jewelry company Cartier has supplied jewelry pieces for royal courts like Spain, Portugal and Russia to name a few. The cherished jewelry company even supplied tiaras for King Edward VII’s coronation in 1902.

Shop the J.S. Fearnley collection of Cartier jewelry here.



The Buccellati family began its tradition in the jewelry trade when Contardo Buccellati worked as a goldsmith in Milan in the mid-eighteenth century. Carrying on family tradition, Mario Buccellati began apprenticing in 1903, at just the age of 12, at a firm he later took over and renamed Buccalleti. The Buccalleti brand grew in popularity after Mario Buccellati threw an expensive compact out a window and shouted “I am not a tradesmen!” in response to a woman asking for a discount at his booth at Madrid’s 1920 Exposition.

Shop the J.S. Fearnley collection of Buccellati jewelry here.


Van Cleef & Arpels

Founded in Paris in 1896 by Alfred Van Cleef and his father-in-law, Salomon Arpels, Van Cleef & Arpels is a luxury jewelry company that designs beautiful luxury pieces often inspired by flowers and animals. After 110 years, the French jewelry company still produces breathtaking jewelry pieces.

Shop the J.S. Fearnley collection of Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry here.


David Webb

American jeweler David Webb was a self-taught jewelry designer who opened his jewelry company in 1948. David Webb pieces have been purchased by iconic celebrities including Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor and Barbra Streisand.

Shop the J.S. Fearnley collection of David Webb jewelry here.


Henry Dunay

At the age of 14, Henry Dunay served as a jewelry apprentice in New York City. Thanks to passion and hard work, Dunay transformed from errand boy into a master model maker. He started his own business in 1956, which helped his pieces appear in stores including Neiman Marcus.

Shop the J.S. Fearnley collection of Henry Dunay jewelry here.



British jewelry manufacturer Graff was founded in 1960 London by Laurence Graff, who started his jeweler career as an apprentice at the age of 15. Graff follows the Kimberley Process, so it never knowingly buys or trades diamonds sourced from locations where conflict or human suffering may be encouraged. Graff laser engraves a majority of its diamonds with unique tracking numbers so their origins can be traced.

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Ilias Lalaounis’ jewelry career started when he worked at his uncle’s jewelry business. In 1940, at the age of 20, he began managing the business and designing all the jewelry until 1968. Ilias founded his Greek Gold jewelry firm Lalaounis in 1969. Other accomplishments of Ilias Lalaounis include the exhibition of his first collection, the Archaelogical Collection, at the Thessaloniki International Fair in 1957 and his founding of the Greek Jewelers’ Association.

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Founded by Thierry Hermès in 1873, the Hermès brand initially supplied accessories for horse-drawn carriages. As time progressed and more family members became involved in the business, more products were offered by the company, including accessory and clothing collections. The brand has produced many timeless iconic luxury items like the Hermès watch and the “Kelly bag” (named after Grace Kelly).

Shop the J.S. Fearnley collection of Hermès jewelry here.


Jean Mahie

The jewelry brand Jean Mahie was launched by Jacline Mazard and her father in-law, Jean Mazard. Jacline had creative experience with painting and blacksmithing. Jean, a successful businessman, noticed her artistic abilities and decided to form a partnership with Jacline in order to help her launch a prosperous jewelry brand. The partners opted to create their own techniques in lieu of professional jewelry design training. Because of their distinct and rugged style, each Jean Mahie piece is unique and one-of-a-kind.

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Born in 1907 France, Jean Schlumberger grew up with great artistic interest and spent a lot of time sketching as a child, but was discouraged by his parents who wouldn’t let him partake in formal training. He began working for Elsa Schiaparelli in the 1930s, where he was hired to create buttons, but was later assigned to design costume jewelry for the firm. After serving in the French Army during World War II, Schlumberger moved to New York and found work designing clothing for Chez Ninon. He launched his jewelry business in 1946 when he opened a jewelry salon with his business partner, Nicolas Bongard.

Shop the J.S. Fearnley collection of Schlumberger jewelry here.


Charles de Temple

Born in Mexico in 1929, Charles de Temple was raised while touring across America as part of the Ringling Brothers Circus. He became a jeweler in Massachusetts and moved to London in 1957 where he played a huge role in the modern British jewelry moment in the 1960s.

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Andrew Clunn

After leaving his birthplace in England, Andrew Clunn moved to the United States where he worked as an apprentice to #DavidWebb from 1963 until Webb’s death in 1975. During his 12 years of apprenticeship, he became a trusted employee of Webb and worked with well-known clients including Elizabeth Taylor and the Duchess of Windsor. In 1980, Clunn opened his own jewelry studio on Madison Avenue in New York City.

Shop the J.S. Fearnley collection of Andrew Clunn jewelry here.


Boris leBeau

After graduating from NYU, Brooklyn native Norman leBeau moved to Paris to study art. He later returned to New York where he launched his career in the jewelry industry and opened “leBeau Jewelers” in 1954. Also known for his Palm Beach Boutique, “Boris LeBeau”, which he managed for forty years, leBeau received many awards during his career, like recognition from the DeBeers Diamond International Awards and the International Pearl Association of the US and Japan.

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Headquartered in New York City, Verdura was founded by Duke Fuclo di Verdura in 1939. The American fine jewelry retailer’s collection today is modeled after Fulco’s designs and also includes vintage estate pieces.

Shop the J.S. Fearnley collection of Verdura jewelry here.



Do you love to wear unique and beautiful pieces from these fine jewelry designers? Shop the entire collection of J.S. Fearnley fine estate and antique jewelry here.




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