Considered to be decorative art, or a crafts-based applied art, jewellery (jewelry) is one of the oldest categories of precious object. There are many different types of jewellery, including:
- belt and shoe buckles
- ankle bracelets and toe rings.
Made by goldsmiths, as well as other master-craftsmen like silversmiths, gemologists, diamond cutters/setters and lapidaries, jewellery is prized for both its aesthetics and the value of its components, which typically include gold or silver, and a variety of precious and semi-precious stones. Such decorative adornments were first made in prehistoric times - as confirmed by cave paintings showing figures wearing necklaces and bracelets - and have since become a regular feature of most cultures throughout the ages. An important type of Egyptian art as well as the more nomadic Celtic culture, jewellery was a feature of Byzantine art in Medieval Kiev, African art throughout the Dark Continent, Oceanic art across the Pacific and both Aztec and Inca culture in the Americas. Indeed, jewellery - like body painting and face painting - has been a fundamental element of tribal art for millennia. Jewels have also been used to adorn weapons, as well as ceremonial and religious objects. During the era of modern art, movements like Art Nouveau and the later Art Deco, inspired new ranges of decorative jewels, while a number of famous artists dabbled in jewellery design including: Picasso, the sculptor Alexander Calder, the surrealists Meret Oppenheim and Salvador Dali, and the assemblage artist Louise Nevelson. Among the most famous jewellery-makers are Fabergé of Russia, Tiffany & Co of New York and René Lalique and Cartier of Paris.
The World's Top Jewelry Designers
- Harry Winston - Harry Winston (March 1, 1896 – December 28, 1978) was an American jeweler. He donated the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Institution in 1958 after owning it for a decade, and traded the Portuguese Diamond to the Smithsonian in 1963.
- Buccellati - 1740 Contardo Buccellati opens the first fine jewellery and goldsmith workshop in Milan. 1919 Mario Buccellati opened his own shop in the centre of the city, on Largo Santa Margherita and began supplying the Milanese high society.
- Van Cleef & Arpels - Founded in 1896 by "Salomon Arpels" and " Alfred Van Cleef", his son-in-law.
- Graff - Founded in 1960 by Laurence Graff.
- Tiffany & Co - Founded by "Charles Lewis Tiffany" and John B. Young in New York City in 1837 as a "stationery and fancy goods emporium," the store initially sold a wide variety of stationery items, and operated as Tiffany, Young and Ellis in Lower Manhattan. The name was shortened to Tiffany & Co. in 1853 when Charles Tiffany took control, and the firm's emphasis on jewelry was established.
- Piaget - In 1874, Georges Édouard Piaget started his first workshop on the family farm, in La Côte-aux-Fées, a small village in the Swiss part of the Jura, and devoted himself to making high-precision movements that he soon began supplying to the most prestigious brands.
- Chopard - Swiss-based luxury watch, jewellery, and accessories company founded in 1860 by Louis-Ulysse Chopard at the age of 24.
- Bulgari - Sotirios Voulgaris began his career as a jeweller in his home village Paramythia (Epirus, Ottoman Empire), where his first store can still be seen. In 1877, he left for Corfu and then Naples. In 1881 he finally moved to Rome, where in 1884 he founded his company and opened his second shop in via Sistina.
- Mikimoto - The skill of a scientist and the soul of an artist combined to create the genius of Kokichi Mikimoto, the inventor of cultured pearls. A visionary on a quest for beauty, it was his dream to "adorn the necks of all women around the world with pearls." Since his company's founding in 1893, elegant women worldwide have been entranced by cultured pearls ... mysterious gems of the sea.