What are the qualities that make us — that is, the human species — what we are? One of the most common answers is how we use tools to achieve results. Which is a fine answer — but we would like to add another one, more subtle, to this: our ancestral need to adorn ourselves with objects of beauty. Below is a thorough history of the world’s most luxurious jewelry brands we know today.

Jewelry as we know it — that is, adorning ourselves with precious objects — is as old as man itself. Historical findings have found several adornments that our ancient progenitors used to wear to distinguish themselves — like animal teeth and fangs with a hole carved in them, which were hung around the neck on a leather thong.

1780 — Chaumet, the oldest jeweler still in operation

1790 — The House of Bolin, the oldest founding family-owned jeweler in operation

1837 — The symbol of the New World’s top jewelry brands: Tiffany’s

1847 — The jeweler of the Kings, Cartier

Cartier Tutti Frutti Collection
Cartier Platinum Full Diamond Pave and Onyx Panther Ring

1858 — Boucheron, the inventor of Place Vendome

1874 — from watches to jewelry: Piaget

1881 — Bvlgari, il Re di Roma

Bvlgari Serpenti 18K White Gold Full Diamond Pave Snake Ring Size Large
Bvlgari B.Zero1 18K White Gold 4-Band Ring

1896 — Van Cleef & Arpels, the other side of Place Vendome

Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra 18K Yellow Gold and Lapis Lazuli 20-Motif Necklace

1919 — Buccellati. From the tradition of silversmithing in Milan

The world's largest provider of ultra-premium brand name watches and jewelry