What is the hierarchy of high-end jewelry brands in New York?
September 2, 2009 1:22 PM   Subscribe

What are the most impressive/exclusive quality diamond jewelry brands with a retail presence in Manhattan?

I am looking for those that are known to the reasonably knowledgeable New Yorker but not necessarily as well-known outside. I worry that Tiffany is too over-exposed and perhaps not the best value for the money.

More specifically, I am looking to buy for someone in the upper half of her 30's who has lived in New York for about 15 years and has a classy, timeless sense of style but is brand-conscious. Thus the name on the box must be recognizable.

A few alternatives come to mind: H. Stern, Cartier, De Beers, Harry Winston, Piaget, Van Cleef but I don't have any idea how they rank on quality, value, or brand recognition. Can you provide some insights?
posted by L'homme armé to Shopping (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Doyle and Doyle is very nice. Unpretentious, wide range of styles and prices, and very classy jewelry. Got my GF some earrings there and I was very impressed with the place. It's small but there's a lot of quality there.
posted by alrightokay at 1:41 PM on September 2, 2009

Best answer: Van Cleef would be my first choice for what you're after in terms of brand recognition and exclusivity. In order:

Van Cleef
Harry Winston
H. Stern

Some of the other brands you mentioned, while nice, are not really associated with jewelry as much as, say, watches. Any of the top three would melt my knickers on sight.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:53 PM on September 2, 2009

Best answer: Based on this list, the top 10 high end jewelry brands are:

1. Harry Winston
2. Buccellati
3. Van Cleef
4. Graff
5. Tiffany & Co.
6. Piaget
7. Cartier
8. Chopard
9. Bulgari
10. Mikimoto

I have no opinions or experiences with any of these, but apparently very wealthy people ranked them in this order.
posted by tryniti at 1:54 PM on September 2, 2009

If she's a downtown sort of gal, the Clay Pot in Brooklyn will be instantly recognizable and desirable.
posted by MsMolly at 1:58 PM on September 2, 2009

I have no knowledge of the stores in New York, however Tiffany has gone rather low rent in my book with it's pandering to the youth demographic. I've stopped going to the one in Houston because of the chattering noise (which probably speaks more about my fast approaching curmudgeon status than anything else). Coach went the same way a few years ago.

I'd certainly put 6-10 in tryniti's list above Tiffany.
posted by arcticseal at 2:02 PM on September 2, 2009

Soho Gem on West Broadway and Grand is worth a look, although not a 'name brand' per se.
posted by momentofmagnus at 2:46 PM on September 2, 2009

Karen Karch on Mulberry Street in NoLita.

Her jewelry is exceptional, popular with a certain crowd, and instantly recognizable upon sight.

Wikipedia page here.

Visit the shop and judge for yourself if the style is right for your needs. I live in LA these days, but when I wear her stuff, people def recognize it.

(BTW. She's been around for a while, has a solid clientele that includes celebrities... I'm glad to see upon a quick google search that she still doesn't market herself in that way. She doesn't need to, but I confess personally to a bit of conceit every time I wear one of her pieces and someone recognizes her work. It's like that.)
posted by jbenben at 6:15 PM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

jbenben: Karen Karch on Mulberry Street in NoLita. Her jewelry is exceptional, popular with a certain crowd, and instantly recognizable upon sight.

Holy guacamole, that stuff is stunning. Those are some of the nicest engagement rings I've ever seen.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:54 AM on September 3, 2009

Gurhan. 24k gold, hammered. Very expensive, and kinda rare. I don't know if his stuff fits in a "hierarchy". But, I'd merit that it would slot in towards the top.
posted by Citrus at 7:27 AM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

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