Jewelry – a magical word that exudes bright smiles, diamond-like glittering eyes and deep, longing sighs. Ever since the human race evolved into an intelligent straight-backed species, there are evidences that jewels in the form of precious crude metals and stones were collected and considered to be forms of splendor. There are several archeological findings of hand-made simple and elegant jewelry in various parts of the world. No wonder that in the modern age, jewelry has gained such an important status in the global market and a nation’s fortune is decided upon its possession and utilization of gold and diamond mines.
Competition among the best brands is at its optimum level and today’s jewelers are the busiest in the professional market, trying to meet the never-ending craving for priceless elegant designs. With the revolution in the area of industry and communication, world class jewelry has come to the reach of urban man and is no longer limited to remain in the prized possession of royalty and film stars. No matter what the budget, jewelry, in today’s world comes in many different forms to suit your individual style. Every variety of jewelry has long since been the ultimate fashion statement and has stayed that way till date. The earlier small scale family jewelry shops have turned into massive corporate giants spewing thousands of fresh designs each year. It is quite an impossible task to bring forth the staggering number of brands floating in the current market. However, based on antiquity and their present grasp on the world’s economy, I am going to enumerate here some famous jewelry stores and brands.
America’s best jewelry brands and retail outlets
Zale is one of North America’s largest retailers in diamond, pearl and coloured stone, and gold (rings, chains, etc) jewelry. It has a chain of 2350 outlets throughout US, Canada and Puerto Rico. The firm has four flagship bearers aimed at different jewelry markets – Bailey Banks & Biddle Fine Jewelers, Gordon’s Jewelers, Zales Jewelers, and Piercing Pagoda. In addition to this, Zale also runs several outlets in Canada under the names Peoples Jewellers & Mappins Jewellers. Zales.com & Baileybanksandbiddle.com are the two official online shopping malls for sale of Zale merchandise.
A brief overview of Zale’s chains is given below:
This was founded in 1924 by Meyer M. Gordon. With further expansion, the business grew into a dominant regional jewelry brand catering to local fashion and style and it has continued the tradition over the years.
Bailey Banks & Biddle:
This was created by two American silversmiths with very little capital in 1832 and the brand was established in 1878. This firm of fine jewelers became one of the country’s prominent jewelry brands and now has a nationwide recognition. Bailey Banks & Biddle has grown to more than 70 retail locations in 31 states across the country and Puerto Rico.
As ear-piercing started catching up with the fashion market of the US, jewelry store owners Bernard and Bertha Cohen found it apt to open the very first Piercing Pagoda™ in the Whitehall Mall in Whitehall, Pennsylvania, in 1969. This venture became a success story when women from far and wide came to their stall for ear-piercing. Piercing Pagoda has grown from a single retail location to a chain of more than 820 kiosks today satisfying customers throughout the US and Puerto Rico with its specialty gold jewelry.
Signet Group plc
Signet, a UK based company, is the largest US specialty retail brand capturing a major chunk of the US jewellery market with its 1,221 stores in 50 states. It reaches to the retail customers through the malls under the banner Kay Jewelers and regionally under a number of well-established and recognized names. The superstores operate under the flagship name Jared – The Galleria of Jewelry. Signet Group’s US subsidiary is Sterling Jewelers.
Sterling Jewelers Inc.
Primarily dealing with sterling silver, Sterling Jewelers also showcases gold, silver, diamond, and gemstone jewelry, watches, collectibles, and gifts. It has a spread of some 1,220 stores in 50 states. Sterling jewelers is ranked number one in the US (ahead of Zale). It operates “Kay Jewelers” (as a subsidiary of Signet) as well “Jared the Galleria of Jewelry” (also as a subsidiary of Signet), and about 330 regional jewelry stores under the names “Belden”, “JB Robinson”, “Marks & Morgan”.
Since 1916, Kay Jewelers, with it’s headquarter in Ohio, has grown from one store to more than 800 from coast to coast. Together with Signet Group plc, its London-based parent company, Kay jewelers has been satisfying clientele in the US as well as other parts of the world.
Jared The Galleria Of Jewelry:
Jared is the leading chain of jewellery superstores. It is also the leading diamond jeweler in the US. More than 100 Jared stores sell diamond jewelry and loose diamonds.
Tiffany, established in 1837 in Broadway, New York, first captured the world’s attention with its intricate silver designs using sterling silver. Since then Tiffany has its name associated with presidents and royalty. It has captured significant chunks of the US and UK markets. In 2006, Tiffany has presented the Frank Gehry collection of jewelry designs in collaboration with the famous architect Frank O. Gehry. Dealing with diamond, pearls, watches, Tiffany stores are available all over the world like the one on 5th avenue, New York, Harrods in London, Printemps Boutique in Paris, at Sydney, Australia, Ngee Ann City in Singapore to name a few.
Opened in New York by Rowland Hussey Macy in 1858, Macy’s was just a fancy dry goods store. From such a beginning, it has made a long and successful journey to become America’s first largest retail departmental store. With over 800 stores all over the US, Macy’s showcases everything from items of daily use to exquisite jewelry, collectibles and accessories.
In 1858, Frédéric Boucheron founded his own jewellery house and opened a boutique in the highly fashionable Palais Royal district of Paris. The luxurious boutique quickly attracted a prestigious clientele. Over four generations, the family business grew into one of the world’s best-known fine jewellery brands. In 1893 Boucheron was the first jewellery store to open a boutique on the Place Vendôme, a neighbourhood known for its urbanity and elegance. In this century, while remaining true to its unique tradition and legacy, Boucheron has become a name synonymous with aggressive and luxurious modern jewelry designs.
Christian Dior, based in France, has been luring the rich and famous from all over the world with handbags, shoes, and jewelry along with other accessories. Its unique trademark jewellery designs make it figure in the top international brand names. It portrays a unique style of producing solid jewelry items with tiny, simple patterns etched or woven in gold, platinum and silver.
Since 1884, Bulgari has been setting the pace for Italian style in jewellery. It was founded by a Greek named Sotirio who had a flair for roman culture. With a high volume of creativity and innovation, Bulgari looks for inspiration from Greek and Roman arts without losing focus on originality. It experiments with gold jewelry in strings of pearl and colored stones. This gives a unique colorful touch to its products. Via Condotti was its first store boasting visits from royalty and film stars galore.In Rome, Paris, London, New York and Los Angeles, as well as in Tokyo and Dubai, Bulgari has created a niche of its own.
H Samuel and Ernest Jones
In the UK, Signet is the largest specialty retailer of fine jewellery with 591 stores nationwide. Primarily situated in prime uptown locations or shopping malls, the stores operate under the banners “H.Samuel”, “Ernest Jones” and “Leslie Davis” (a trade name related to Ernest Jones). Signet sells gold, silver, diamond, and gemstone jewelry, watches, collectibles, and gifts. Some stores sell china and crystal.
Ernest Jones specializes in diamonds, branded watches and gold jewellery, which are all merchandised and marketed to appeal to the more affluent urban customer.
H.Samuel offers a range of jewellery, gold, watches and gifts.
Peoples Jewellers & Mappins Jewellers
Zale Corporation has captured the Canadian market through two brands, Peoples® Jewellers and Mappins® Fine Jewellers. Both chains are well-known throughout Canada. They provide traditional jewelry items through outlets located in prime malls and other strategically well-placed geographic locations. Founded in 1919 as a family business, Peoples Jewellers was the first company in Canada to sell jewelry on a time payment plan. Mappins Jewellers began operating in 1935, by a British jeweler named Mappins working in a Canadian firm. Mappins was acquired by Peoples Jewellers in 1964.
D’damas is part of the Gitanjali Digico Group which was established in 1966. It is considered one of the earliest diamond houses and the largest diamond exporting company in India. The traditional role of diamond manufacturers exporting the bulk of their production to wholesalers worldwide is no longer sufficient to remain competitive in today’s changing market scenario. The Gitanjali Group has therefore tuned itself with changing times by adapting newer methods. Being a DTC Sightholder and a diamond manufacturer, the Group has strategically positioned itself to manufacture and promote diamonds as well as studded jewellery all the way to the retail level. D’ Damas brands include “Asmi”, “Collection g”, “Eternal”, “Glitterati”, “Gold Expressions”, “Lamhe”, “Nakshatra”, “Origin”, “Solitaire”, “Victoria’s Desire”.
Started in India in 1995 by the jewelry business group of Titan Industries Ltd (owned by Tata group), Tanishq is the fastest growing jewelry brand in India. Tanishq is a perfect blend of style and traditional elegance. It provides an exquisite variety of 22k pure gold jewelry studded with diamonds and other coloured gems.
The name Cartier is synonymous to awe-inspiring jewelry since the beginning of 20th century. Cartier specializes in creating mesmerizing designs on gold, silver and platinum with gems and precious stones. Available worldwide, its flagship boutiques have been operating in Paris, London and New York.
In the19th Century, Daniel Swarovski opened the door to the sparkling world of crystal when he invented an automatic cutting machine. Specializing in crystal artifacts, accessories and even innovative and elegant jewellery, the company has captured the minds of people globally with its exquisitely intricate patterns etched in crystal.
EROS Fine Jewellery
Located at the foot of the Acropolis in Greece, EROS Jewellery store is a family owned business. Jewelry making in Greece is traditional but exemplifies outstanding craftsmanship at reasonable prices. If you are looking for pieces of modern, traditional, classical or Byzantine styles you will find them all here. You can also manage to get custom-made jewelry at reasonable prices.
De Beers originally based in South Africa, is the largest diamond mining company in the world today. Recently De Beers has launched a joint venture with LVMH (De Beers LV). This, in turn, has taken the De Beers name to the High Street with De Beers jewellery stores in the US, Japan, UK, France and Dubai. The first De Beers boutique opened in London in early December 2001 at the corner of Bond Street and Piccadilly. From there De Beers has carried on opening ten more outlets in various parts of the globe. Recently, in collaboration with jeweler Neil Lane, De Beers has opened a boutique on Rodeo Drive in Hollywood catering to the rich and famous clientele there.
This Swiss jeweled watch-making company has clinched a name of its own in the jewelry industry. Its has its branches and boutiques worldwide in countries like Austria, Great Britain, USA, Switzerland, France, Germany, Japan and the Bahamas to name a few.
This 80 year old Italian jewelry brand is a name to reckon with amongst world’s top film stars and royalty. Started in 1924 in Valenza, Italy, this flagship brand (owned by Damiani group) of exquisite and innovative gold and diamond jewelry has become the epitome of luxury jewelry keeping its balance with original traditions and elegance. Some of their newer jewelry collections include Tahitian Pearl Jewelry Collection and their Sophia Loren collection. The Tahitian collection features beautiful black pearls, diamonds and gold. Damiani has also won the Tahitian Pearl Trophy, Italy.
Costello’s online jewelry store
Costello’s was established as the Koala Opal Centre in 1955 in Australia, exporting Australian rough opal to Japan. Over the years, it has successfully established retail outlets in prime locations in Sydney and Perth. Costello is the also the national jewelry retailer and exporter of Argyle diamonds from Western Australia’s Kimberley ranges as well as South sea pearls from the waters around Broome. Costellos.com.au provides an online portal for the sale of its exquisite gemstones and pearls backed by International guarantee certificate proving genuineness of the products.
Dubai Gold and Diamond Park
Long awaited and dedicated jewellery shopping mall has finally opened in Dubai. The jewelry at Gold and Diamond Park guarantees certified quality at 37 outlets in air-conditioned comfort. Their range of jewelry includes several varieties of precious stones, yellow, white and even purple gold, platinum items; and pearls. The park is an extension of the Jebel Ali Free Zone, so, the manufactures and retailers are able to benefit from lower operating costs, which, in turn, give the opportunity to compete in international markets. The exterior throws an Arabic look while providing cool, clean and aesthetic interiors. The shops are arranged around a central square where an open-plan French Connection coffee shop gives you the opportunity to sit and observe the whole operation. There is even a museum inside the park providing the history of UAE in producing quality jewellery products. The world class manufacturers have shifted their focus on this jewelry mall. Hence it is not just the common yellow and white gold that is available here, as Prestige Palace at the park brings purple gold to the Middle East for the first time. Pinctada Pearls, which stocks only salt water pearls, showcases black pearls from Tahiti, and pinky white and creamy white Australian South Sea pearls. The park also has its special hallmark on the jewellery made here ensuring originality and quality products.
TOMEI Gold and jewelry
TOMEI Gold & Jewellery Holdings (M) Sdn. Bhd. was established in 1968. With hard work and ability to foresee client needs, TOMEI has evolved into Malaysia’s premier retailer, wholesaler and manufacturer of gold and jewellery. It has grown into a powerful contributor in the second largest export market for gold jewellery in the world after India. It has a chain of versatile subsidiaries and branches providing flexible services with ever-changing marketing scenario. Under the brand names “T.H. jewelry” and “My Diamond”, TOMEI has captured the Malaysian jewelry market and is a name to reckon with internationally.
China National Pearl Diamond Gem & Jewellery Import & Export Corp
China National Pearl Diamond Gem & Jewellery Imp. & Exp. Corporation, referred to as “SINOGEM”, was founded in 1985. It is a platform for the import and export of gold, platinum, silver jewelry/ornament, diamond and gemstone jewelry, jadeite and pearls; precious metals and finished products in China. It showcases its products under the brand name “Famous” to a clientele based in more than 40 countries.
The Pearl Paradise, founded in 1996, has its showroom in Los Angeles, California. It mainly deals with a variety of exotic cultured marine pearls like Golden Akoya, Peacock Tahitian, and Pink Freshwater. It not only caters to the crème de la crème, but also captures clients with modest means by providing jewelry suitable to their budgets. Pearlparadise.com has turned into a multi-million dollar business and boasts fourteen websites in several countries around the world, including Canada, Germany, France, the UK, and Italy. Both the showroom as well as the online shopping site display same price for the chosen piece of pearl jewelry.
This Japanese brand existing since 1959, offers fashionable pearl and diamond jewelry in traditional and modern flavors. It’s Akoya, South Sea and Tahiti pearls have reached far corners of the globe like Moscow, Antwerp, India, Perth and New York.
Mangatrai Pearls & Jewellery
The company, founded in 1935 in Hyderabad, India, has pioneered in using latest cost effective techniques and modern innovative ideas to present the world with elegant, contemporary designs in pearl jewelry. For centuries Hyderabad has been the centre of world’s most exquisite pearls. Mangatrai Pearls & Jewellery showcases an unrivaled collection of South sea pearls, Tahitian pearls and Natural pearls woven in intricate patterns for producing the most exquisite collection of jewelry. The brand operates with just two outlets located in prime locations in Hyderabad.
Online Jewelry stores
Online shopping malls have come a long way with regards to sale of classic as well as fashion jewelry. With more and more websites providing seal of authenticity for their products, customers have got over the initial mistrust and are shopping for jewelry online like never before! The latest range of jewelry collections is available just a click away. Not only the signature companies have painstakingly built up their online portals for direct sales of their merchandise, but they have also opened their doors to other online retail stores. Due to low overheads, online stores offer better savings on signature brands than the retail outlets. A few giant online stores providing a wide range of jewelry from traditional to innovative, antique to modern, Celtic to fashion jewelry have been listed below for your convenience:
Forzieri.com (Forzieri is a name synonymous to access of classy Italian jewelry online. It caters to several countries all over the world including USA, UK, Australia, Germany and Italy)
http://www.tulumba.com/storeitems.asp?tag=130 (For authentic Turkish jewelry)
Ediamondjewelry.com [http://www.ediamondjewelry.info] (exclusively for diamond jewelry)
http://www.moonfook.com/ (For fresh water pearl jewelry)
ShopInIsrael.com (for typical Israeli jewelry- high quality Judaica, designer brands, ancient coin jewelry)
[http://www.bestindiansites.com/jewelry/] (for exclusive Indian jewelry)