Top 5 French Wedding Ring Designers

What a better way to say I love you and propose than with a French engagement ring?

We ladies know that “A kiss on the hand may be quite continental but diamonds are a girl’s best friend…”  and wouldn’t we all want to be swept off our feet with a luxurious Cartier engagement ring?  Yes, please!

Black and white wedding photo of bride and groom rings paris

Today we wanted to continue with our TOP 5 PARIS picks and  talk about some of the major names in the French jewelry (specifically engagement and wedding rings) industry.  We’ve dug up some historical facts, recent news and thrown in a fun pronunciation guide that should  have you sounding like a true Parisian in no time!

1. Cartier  (pronounced Car-tee-eh) 

Louis-Francois Cartier founded this luxury jewelry company Cartier in 1847 after taking over the workshop of Adolphe Picard.  Established at 29, Rue Montorgueil in the 2nd arrondisment of Paris, the headquarters are still in the city, with an address on the elegant Rue de la Paix.

Since its beginning, Cartier has attracted high-profile clientele and royalty. The jewelry house became the official purveyor to the kings and heads of state of England, Spain, Portugal, Russia, Belgium, Serbia, and Siam.

Evalyn Walsh McLean wearing the now famous HOPE diamond

 

Cartier is also the maker of the famous Blue Hope Diamond, sold to American mining heiress and socialite Evalyn Walsh McLean in 1910. Harry Winston later purchased the necklace from Evalyn Walsh McLean in 1949 and donated to the Smithsonian Institution on November 10, 1958.

The creation of the Trinity in 1924, a “three-band ring and bracelet combining gold in three colors,” brought fame to Cartier once again.  The style became very popular in Parisian society after Jean Cocteau adopted the design and is still one of the most popular statement of understated luxury.

Cartier store front at place vendome paris

Cartier’s history allows it to have an elaborate spread of stores around the world, plus historic collections of the pieces that are in metropolises like Paris, London, and New York.  Their survival through world wars and economic crises have guaranteed them a place in the jewelry market forever, plus some of the best real estate in the city.  One of their most famous boutiques is located at Place Vendome, a boutique they have had since 1899, which shares the plaza with the Ritz Paris (link back to other article), a Chanel boutique, Dior Jewelry, and Van Cleef & Arpels, another top French ring designer, two of which also made it to our list of Top French Wedding Ring Designers.

Cartier is the French power player in the jewelry world, whose elegance and style are matched by few.

2. Van Cleef & Arpels ( pronounced Von cleef eh Ar – pel) 

Messieurs Alfred Van Cleef and Charles Arpels founded their namesake company, Van Cleef & Arpels, in 1896, opening their first store a decade later in the famed place Vendome in Paris.  While Cartier has a patent on the “invisible mount,” Van Cleef & Arpels pioneered their own gem-setting technique, christened the “Mystery Setting.” The firm is known for their remarkable work with rare stones; their designs strive to enhance the gems themselves.

Those looking for an engagement ring from Paris, look no further.

Jackie Kennedys Engagement Ring by Van cleef et Arpels

One of their standout pieces include the engagement ring John F. Kennedy presented to Jacqueline Bouvier: one 2.88 carat diamond mounted next to a 2.84 carat cut emerald with tapered baguettes.

 

jackie o engagment green wedding ring

Van Cleef & Arpels boasts not only sophistication, like its neighbor Cartier, but also revolutionary designs and techniques.

Not to mention they are a staple on every single red carpet. Who remembers that green emerald necklace by Ginnifer Goodwin?

3. Chaumet ( pronounced shaw-meh)

The word Chaumet goes hand-in-hand with aristocracy.  Dating back to 1780, Chaumet was designated by Napoleon to be his personal jeweler.  The founder of the jewelry enterprise, Marie-Etienne Nitot, established himself so well and created such remarkable pieces that all of his successors have conserved their place as a favorite jeweler among the elite and the prosperous.

sophie marceau chaumet ad print wedding  rings

From romantic pieces for Napoleon, the next generation of Chaumet designers, Jean-Baptiste and Jules Fossin morphed into a new style of jewelry.  No longer were the nobility the sole clientele; now, there was a market for well-to-do artists.  This brought forth the new type of “naturalism” in their work.  They used brightly-colored stones to emulate the colors of things found in nature, such as rubies for grapes and emeralds for vine leaves.

Our modern day impression of Chaumet continues to be a maison associated with the refined upper class, mostly known for their luxury watches,  but one that is sensitive to the tastes and desires of today’s clientele.

 

4. Mauboussin ( pronounced Maw-boo-saan)

Established in 1827 by jeweler M. Rocher in collaboration with Jean-Baptiste Noury, Mauboussin has always resided in the highest tiers of the jewelry world.  Their rings and baubles have appeased people of all social levels.   The first supermodel, American Suzy Parker, was among one of the celebrities to model the line’s jewelry.

 

French Jewelry Designer Mauboussin jewelry modeled by Suzy Parker

Suzy Parker models Mauboussin jewelry

In 1939,Paulette Goddard, Charlie Chaplin’s wife, did not get the role of Scarlett in « Gone with the wind ».  To console her, Chaplin presented her with a yellow gold Mauboussin bracelet.  Who wouldn’t want a consolation prize like that?

Since their establishment, Mauboussin has created beautiful pieces that merited recognition, such as the Grand Prix awarded by  during the « Exposition des Arts Décoratifs » in Paris in the 19th century, as well as a prize in the Paris and Vienna World Fairs.

 

French Jewelry Designer Mauboussin Chance of Love ring

Mauboussin “Chance of Love” engagement ring

In 2005, their popular « Chance of Love » jewelry line was established.  It made history when in 2007, it was the first piece of jewelry to ever be featured on French television.

Mauboussin paris metro ad with engagement rings

Mauboussin launched a lower-priced jewelry line for those customers who wish to own a signature piece, yet do not have the means to buy high-end jewelry.

From the smallest bauble to the highest end extravagance, Mauboussin pieces are an investment in luxury jewelry.

 

5. DIOR ( we already know how to pronounce this one, right?)

The youngest on our top 5 jewelry list is Dior Joaillerie’s creative director Victoire de Castellane, who has revolutionized this famous french fashion house’s jewelry wing.  The modern day Parisian aristocrat mixes luxurious jewels with a feminine Alice in Wonderland style design.

After fourteen years at Chanel, she transferred over to Dior in 1998 to become their first head of the new jewelry department.

Today Dior’s most classic “OUI” engagement ring and their most extravagant rings have been in high demand by fashion-forward brides.


Victoire de Castellane for Dior Jewelry: Crystalucinea Metha Agressiva ring Dior joaillerie

Victoire de Castellane for Dior Jewelry: Crystalucinea Metha Agressiva ring

She comes from aristocracy but her success in this industry is really based on her talent and creativity.  She’s fun, eccentric, and passionate about jewelry-making, and you can definitely see her personality in all of her pieces.

Victoire de Castellane Dior Jewelry French Wedding Ring Designer

Dior Jewelry by Victoire de Castellane

Her inspiration comes from bright colors, fantasy worlds, snow globes, and tiny toys – she has a table full of funky little Japanese toys in her office!  Her pieces are anything but ordinary – exactly what you want for a gift or as an alternative engagement ring.

 

Dior Ring by French Ring Designer Victoire de Castellane

Stunning piece by Victoire de Castellane

Victoire de Castellane doesn’t just design jewelry; she creates conversation pieces.

 

Voila, our picks for the top 5 French jewelry designers: Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Chaumet, Mauboussin, and Victoire de Castellane for Dior.  With gorgeous pieces like these, you’ll have the most stunning engagement ring!

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by olalin

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