11 Women in the History of Jewelry

Exotic Diamonds

Mar 06 , 2022

11 Women in the History of Jewelry

It's no mystery that males have mostly created or been credited with design and artistic accomplishments across history. This was due to the fact that women were consigned to the home realm and were not offered the same educational possibilities as males.

Less is known about the ladies who developed the jewelry or formed the jewelry companies. In a time when women were infrequently seen outside of the home environment, women were manufacturing jewelry, and there were numerous established women jewelers. Women were more likely than males to work as trainees and craftsmen in jewelry houses, but their accomplishments have been overlooked.

Having this in view, continue reading to learn more about the women jewelers, jewelry directors, and jewelry designers who have had a significant effect on the items we buy at the store.

  • Traquair, Phoebe Anna


Phoebe Anna Traquair (1852-1936) was an Irish-born woman who was well-known in Scotland for her contributions to the arts and crafts sector. In 1920, Traquair became the first woman to be appointed to the Royal Scottish Academy.

Traquair admired and was inspired by Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Blake, which may have affected her jewelry designs. Traquair also dabbled with other mediums, such as embroidering household textiles for clinics and churches.

Traquair's jewelry is really gorgeous. Enameling methods were mostly used to create elaborate and extremely realistic amorous reliefs.

  • Coco Chanel


Coco Chanel, like Vivienne Westwood, is a legendary fashion designer best renowned for her contributions to the realm of clothing rather than jewelry.

The now-iconic Chanel Maltese Cross was developed by Chanel and has become a staple of the Chanel jewelry collection since then.

Coco Chanel launched her first fine jewelry brand, bijoux Diamants, in 1932, which was greeted with considerable controversy at the time from fine jewelry designers due to her costume jewelry pieces. During the Great Depression, nevertheless, this line re-ignited and strengthened the Diamond industry.


  • Germain Boivin, Jeanne Boivin, and Juliette Moutard


Although many people associate the Boivin jewelry brand with Rene Boivin, his wife Jeanne had a significant and influential position in the business. Jeanne Boivin, the sister of renowned Parisian fashion designer Paul Poiret, had numerous ties in the haute couture, which meant that the Boivin jewelry company had a prestigious clientele. Rene Boivin died in 1917, putting Jeanne as the only owner.

Jeanne became the firm's primary designer and was known as Madame Boivin across the industry. Her jewelry was bright, geometric, large-scale, and textured, and it was frequently made of yellow gold. Madame Boivin's jewelry was never marked, and she didn't have a storefront; instead, she had an appointment-only studio in Paris, comparable to Belperron.

Madame Boivin, as evidenced by the intentional tort of Belperron, valued the employment of female jewelers in her firm. Madame Boivin hired Juliette Moutard and her child, Germaine Boivin, when Belperron left. The Boivin jewelry company was supported by these three women, as well as Belperron. The starfish brooch, made of Amethyst and Ruby cabochons, is one of Moutard's most renowned jewelry pieces.

  • Marina B


During the 1970s and 1990s, Marina B, also referred to as Marina Bulgari, was a well-known jewelry designer who created showy, outstanding, and colorful jewelry for elite customers. Marina launched her own jewelry line in 1976 after leaving her family's renowned Boutique, and her striking, ageless design rapidly became known and admired.

Marina B invented the 'chestnut' gemstone cut and developed the spring-mounting, pave diamonds, and replaceable features design processes.

  • Paloma Picasso


Paloma Picasso is a well-known jewelry designer and creator for Tiffany and Co. She is the daughter of Pablo Picasso and Françoise Gilot. It's no surprise that the daughter of two of the world's most famous artists acquired their skill. Paloma was initially a costume designer who stumbled into the jewelry market by mistake in 1968 when some of her rhinestone-encrusted costume pieces grabbed the eye of reviewers. She went on to undertake professional training in jewelry design as a result of this.

In 1969, she showed her first jewelry designs to her friend and renowned Beaulieu Yves Saint Laurent, who instantly hired her to develop pieces for one of his ensembles. Picasso began making jewelry for Tiffany & Co. in 1980.

  • Peretti, Elsa


Elsa Peretti is an Italian jewelry manufacturer and fashion model who was born in 1940. She created significantly for Tiffany and Co., and several of her pieces are now in the galleries of the British Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and Houston, respectively.

Peretti honed her technique and developed her aesthetic sense throughout a previous job in interior art and construction. She began designing new jewelry types for a variety of fashion designers in New York in 1969, following five years of modeling.

Peretti secured a contract with Tiffany & Co. in 1974, and by 1979, she was the company's top creative. Peretti only dealt with silver, which was considered "ordinary" at the time, but she made the material extremely trendy among 1980s New York high society. Her silver creations were seen to be lighthearted, which drew in a younger demographic.

Jade, lacquer, and rattan are frequently used in Peretti's distinctive Silver designs.

  • Schiaparelli, Elsa


Elsa Schiaparelli, one of the most well-known designers in existence, not only traversed the realms of style and culture, but she also brought them together in a way that no other artist could at the moment. Schiaparelli's jewelry designs were not unique from the exceptional and extravagant clothes designs since she was intrigued by surrealism.

Her unconventional fasteners were most likely the inspiration for Schiaparelli's jewelry designs. Padlocks, snails, coffee beans, lollipops, fruits, vegetables, and spoons were among the buttons that adorned her skirts, jackets, and coats. Not to mention the fact that many of her fashion designs were extremely bejeweled and decorated, similar to what is being done now.

  • Suzanne Belperron


Suzanne Belperron was a tremendously prominent 20th-century jewelry designer. Belperron was based in Paris and served for the Boivin and Herz jewelry firms before World war 2. She then took over the Herz firm and renamed it Herz-Belperron!

Suzanne's ability to make jewelry has been honed since she was a child. Born in the remote French village of Saint-Claude, this city was famed for its historical skill of gemstone carving, and during the cold winter season, all of its residents would pitch in to assist with the company. Suzanne's mother saw her daughter's aptitude and registered her at Besançon's School of The Arts.

Suzanne traveled to Paris to work for the French jewelry business Boivin as an assistant to Jeanne Boivin. Her designs were curvy and exquisite, in stark contrast to the Art Deco trend of the day. Suzanne, unlike some other women at the time, rose through the ranks of the Boivin jewelry firm to become co-director at the age of 23.

Belperron, on the other hand, retired in 1932. This is thought to have happened because she was not given credit for her efforts, which was unusual in the jewelry industry. She began working for Bernard Herz, a well-known Parisian valuable gemstone trader, who granted her complete creative control.

During the early 1900s, her original piece gained Herz brand popularity and acclaim, and Belperron swiftly rose to prominence as a famous French artist. Her work was included in fashion journals alongside Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels.

Belperron's art included themes and designs from Egypt, East India, China, Japan, Africa, and Oceania into his work. She was the first to use 22-carat gold instead of higher purity gold to put valuable stones within semi-precious metals, and she was the first to do so. Belperron didn't sign her work since she believed that the piece's uniqueness was its mark.

Belperron acquired total power of the Herz company due to Bernard Herz's Jewishness and the Invasion of Paris, although she was detained and questioned by the Gestapo over Bernard Herz and his connections at one time. Despite this, Belperron, a very devoted buddy, is said to have devoured the columns of his contact list one by one, making it impossible for them to track down his family.

Belperron renewed his business engagement with his eldest son after Bernard Herz's death at Auschwitz.

Belperron was noted for examining the shapes of her clients' faces, their skin tone, and the form of their hands in order to comprehend their habits for her jewelry orders. Belperron and Herz decided to sell and liquidate the Herz-Belperron corporation after her husband's demise.

  • Vautrin, Line


Line Vautrin (1913-1997), a wartime jewelry artist, began making jewelry and ornamental things at an early age, with her earliest commercial works going back to the age of 21. Intricate Egyptian designs, visual rhyming, and her wide use of yellow Gold jewelry were all hallmarks of her art.

Vautrin rose to prominence as a modernist when she had a stand at the 1937 Paris International Exposition. Her architectural approach drew a large following, and she continued to create pieces for them until her passing in 1997. Her popularity at this show enabled her to launch her own boutique on Paris's Rue de Berri, where she created a variety of jewelry.

Vautrin's inherent affinity for jewel crafting and metallurgy was an uncommon choice for a young woman's profession. Her accomplishments were due not just to her skill, but also to her tenacity and uncompromising individualism. In fact, it was widely assumed that she started her career practicing for Schiaparelli, only to leave a few days later due to rigorous constraints.

Vautrin's art grew in popularity after she was dubbed the "poetess of metal" by Vogue in 1948. She eventually moved to a larger room in Marais, which she converted into a studio and show venue. She started working with new elements, such as cellulose fiber, that were becoming available in the 1960s. 

Vautrin was known to enjoy the difficult and time-consuming procedure of producing mirrors. She was fascinated by alchemy and the cosmology of life, the technique of combining two primordial components to create something lovely via touch, antagonism, and effort.

  • Vivienne Westwood


Vivienne Westwood, one of the most well-known British clothing designers and a key influence on the British punk movement in the late 1960s, is most recognized for her interweaving worlds of political engagement and clothing, but her jewelry designs have been forgotten.

In reality, Westwood began her career in creation by studying jewelry and silversmithing at Westminster University. She departed after one semester, however, since she felt isolated by the other students, who were mostly from the upper ranks. Westwood kept making her own jewelry items, which she marketed on Portobello Road, after becoming a school teacher. She encountered Malcolm Mclaren, a musician, clothing designer, and promoter of the punk band the Sex Pistols, as a result of this.

  • Wendy Ramshaw


Ramshaw, who was born in Sunderland at the outset of World war ii —, developed an early interest in arts and crafts, making ornaments out of rubbish at the age of six. Her creative skill shone through despite the shortages and hardships of the period.

Following the war, Britain's euphoria led to the Festival of Britain in 1951, which Ramshaw, then 12 years old, visited. This event commemorated the British triumphs in science, agriculture, literature, art, and industry throughout history. Ramshaw was inspired by her experience to modern visual art to follow her trade, studying graphics and fabric production at Newcastle between 1956 and 1960 before transferring to Reading University in 1961.

Ramshaw encountered her future husband David Watkins, a well-known British artist who created the medals for the 2012 London Olympics. The duo collaborated and focused on their crafts collectively. Graham Hughes, the artistic director of Goldsmiths Hall, acquired some of Ramshaw's paintings in the 1970s, catapulting her reputation.

Ramshaw was one of the first ladies to be accepted as a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, and she was a Member of the Chartered Society of Designers and the Royal Society of Arts. She received an OBE in 1993 for her contributions to the arts, and a CBE in 2003.