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.