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Beauty and the Brand: Branded Jewelry a Hot Holiday Trend?

In July of 2012, Versace launched a high-end “works of art” jewelry line, featuring pieces dripping with gems, encased in flourishes of luscious precious metals. Truly luxurious, the line is certainly in step with the design house’s sensibilities, and jewelry and fashion lovers alike have flocked to the line, thanks in no small part to the weight of the Versace name.

Versace isn’t the first and certainly won’t be the last to brand jewelry. Louis Vuitton, too, launched a high-end jewelry and time piece boutique at Place Vendome in Paris. Most of the pieces sport the iconic initials of “VL”, leaving no room for doubt of its origins.

With the holiday shopping season upon us, thoughts turn to jewelry as gifts, as usual. Which prompts one to wonder, are people buying branded jewelry because it’s branded, or because it’s beautiful?

Not Designer – still stunning.

Indeed, there are designer brands that get it right. Take Oscar De La Renta, for example. Since 2001, the De La Renta line of pretty baubles have delighted us with their playful-meets-opulent style. Gucci is another.

Their jewelry is elegant and refined, with languid lines and lovely curves. But Gucci certainly makes no attempt to keep their brand name off their jewelry. And why would they? They’re Gucci. The name is as instantly recognizable as their horsebit motif. Additionally, David Yurman’s cable design is a stand-out and easily recognizable. No giant “DY” initials needed. But is Louis Vuitton or Versace jewelry really worth the hefty price tag, just so the wearer can flaunt the logo? We’re not so sure.

Yes, there are some lovely stand-outs amongst the world of branded jewelry. We, however, prefer the specialty houses. Sure, the Tiffany name is a recognizable brand unto itself. So is Bulgari. But their recognizability was borne of being the best at what they do, and their ability to remain timeless while doing it.

Kandy H for Raymond Lee Jewelers, premiere fine jewelry and luxury watch boutique and buyer.

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