All jewellery is designed to make you sparkle. But a few exquisite brands have transcended being a mere accessory and become globally recognised luxury jewellery names. Wearing a piece of jewellery from these brands is like enveloping yourself in elegance. It might surprise you then that even these mythical purveyors of beauty, status, and prestige can be part of a Fashion Activist’s consciously curated collection. You can find second-hand pieces from coveted jewellery designers online at Vestiaire Collective, giving you a more affordable treasure without contributing to the climate crisis. Discover our top five most elegant jewellery brands to add sparkle to your look. If you are lucky to find these gems pre-loved, there’s no reason not to treat yourself.
The pearl necklace has been a symbol of status, elegance, and grace since ancient history. The first known pearl adornment was worn 10,000 years ago! Since then, this natural beauty has been around the necks of some of the world’s most beguiling and powerful people like Cleopatra, Coco Chanel, Elizabeth Taylor, and Audrey Hepburn. To say that the pearl necklace is a timeless look is actually selling it a little short.
Pearls are notoriously rare, and historically they have required great skill to obtain. But the pearl industry changed forever in the early 1900s when Kokichi Mikimoto revolutionised pearls by culturing the stone. Make no mistake. These are not fake pearls. Mikimoto’s specialty, the Akoya pearl, is among the highest quality pearls that exist; Mikimoto simply made them accessible for everyday wear.
By culturing pearls, Mikimoto unintentionally created a more eco-friendly product than natural pearls, which require the premature harvesting of oysters and the risky business of pearl diving. Since oysters naturally filter water, oyster farms can be a net positive for the ocean.
Today Mikimoto’s jewellery line consists of opulent necklaces, bracelets, and earrings that use only the top 10% highest quality pearls to ensure a brilliant lustre. This company brings over a hundred years of experience to jewellery making; consequently, the craftsmanship of a Mikimoto necklace is unparalleled.
No two pearls are the same, which means all pearl jewellery is one-of-a-kind. For an even more unique item, asymmetric baroque pearls are becoming more and more beloved due to their charming irregularity. Round or baroque, pearls make stylish jewellery that holds its value very well.
Pearls have undergone a renaissance in style over the decades. They are no longer thought of as the accessory for women of a certain age. With a range of styles, colours, and sizes leave a pearl for everyone. Even men like Harry Styles have adopted pearls as a staple accessory. As Jackie Kennedy said, “Pearls are always appropriate.”
Global luxury brand Chopard began its legacy 150 years ago in Switzerland. While best known for making watches, this brand carries a wide selection of gorgeous jewellery, including breathtaking engagement rings. As the official jeweller of the Cannes Film Festival, Chopard is often the go-to brand for A-listers going to red carpet events. Just check out Bella Hadid’s earrings from this year’s festival that made our jaws drop. They’ve also designed the festival’s Palme d’Or trophy since 1998. As the jeweller to the stars, this company is inventive and current and relishes the opportunity to create memorable and fanciful pieces. You can expect fine attention to detail and the very highest quality craftsmanship with this label.
The name Chopard is synonymous with elite luxury, so it should come as no surprise that this brand makes the most expensive watch in the world. At 25 million US dollars, the 201-carat timepiece comes drenched in multi-coloured diamonds. If you want a luxurious timepiece but not over-the-top, Chopard has a selection for all lifestyles that maintain the same rigorous quality. Each stunning watch is made in-house, allowing the family-owned company to maintain the highest standards throughout the crafting process.
We love Chopard as much for their beautiful work as for their commitment to sustainability. Since 2018 Chopard has used 100% ethically sourced gold and has committed to small-scale mining operations. Chopard-devotee, French actress Marion Cotillard, recently designed a seven-piece rock-’n-roll inspired capsule collection for the company consisting of ethically produced jewellery with Fairmined-certified diamonds. For an even more sustainable purchase of this glittering luxury brand, shop pre-loved Chopard on Vestiaire.
Alex Monroe is a British brand inspired by the natural world. The label’s signature piece, the bumblebee necklace, has been a best-seller for ten years. Other signature motifs from this house include whimsical designs such as the dragonfly and the feather. Each nature-inspired pendant is a symbolic ode to the designer’s childhood, imbuing each piece with whimsy and wonder.
Each piece is handmade in England, and the exquisite detailing sets the company apart from other jewellery makers. Their designs are crafted from sterling silver with a gold-plated option. Alex Monroe’s fine jewellery line is 18-carat solid gold and includes a “one-of-a-kind” line for a perfectly unique token. The designer uses responsibly sourced sapphires for intricately crafted pieces that have a sense of motion and romanticism. All of these pieces are made to outlast trends and be a beloved part of your everyday ensemble for years. Choosing pieces with this kind of longevity is an important way to be a sustainable consumer.
Because of his love of the natural world, Alex Monroe’s creations are developed with the utmost respect for the environment. The brand aims for recycled materials when possible and uses diamonds that comply with the Kimberley Process. The company even encourages its employees to cycle to work. There is still a long way to go to full sustainability with every jewellery brand, leaving second-hand as the most meaningful way to buy jewellery in an environmentally conscious way. With such high-quality craftsmanship and limited collections, Alex Monroe’s pieces are a favourite to find pre-loved on Vestiaire.
Annoushka Ducas has been creating thoughtful jewellery for decades, and in 2009 she finally put her name on a label dedicated to bettering the lives of women. Annoushka wanted to bring a female perspective to the traditional domain of luxury jewellery by designing pieces she would like to wear herself. As a result, her collections are highly wearable, versatile, comfortable, and always characterised by a strong sense of colour.
The lives and power of women inspire Annoushka, giving her pieces a natural emotional resonance. Her love of travel also informs her creations, and she aims to tell a story with each piece. To create a highly personal and symbolic work of your own, peruse her selection of over five hundred pendants and charms to find the combination of themes and gemstones that speaks to you. These miniature sculptures are intricately crafted and a popular choice for gifting or adding to your collection. For a hint of dark romance, check out her best-selling collaboration with The Vampire’s Wife, a fashion house founded by Susie Cave. By layering and stacking Annoushka pieces, you can create a unique personal style that reflects your background and spirit.
Annoushka is pleased to cater to the modern-day woman who is increasingly buying jewellery for herself as a mark of independence and self-respect. All Annoushka jewellery is crafted with 18-carat gold, providing the best balance of lustre and durability. Whether buying for yourself or as a gift, these pieces are an investment you hand down to future generations. Choosing high-quality gold pieces and cool jewellery on Vestiaire instead of buying new will extend their lifespan, minimising the harm that mining causes to the global environment
Suzanne Kalan is a mother-daughter business with over thirty years of experience creating innovative and memorable luxury jewellery. Suzanne herself revolutionised jewellery design with her “Fireworks” collection. By utilising scattered diamonds in a baguette setting, she achieves a surprising and alluring piece of jewellery that continues to delight to this day. This particular design has won many accolades, including the prestigious Couture design award.
Suzanne Kalan makes timeless pieces that you will want to wear for all of your special occasions by hand in their Los Angeles workshop. Since these are modern spins on traditional designs, this jewellery will continue to stun for years. As the designer has said, “I want the women who wear my designs to be able to wear them today, tomorrow, and twenty years from now.” A good choice for anyone who wants a more sustainable collection of jewellery.
Suzanne Kalan’s pieces are unique thanks to a balance between the symmetrical and asymmetrical. These pieces dazzle because of the sheer amount of gemstones piled onto each piece. For the person who wants to drip in diamonds, Suzanne Kalan is the brand for you. You’ll be in good company- highly stylish women like Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga, and Rihanna are fans of this creative label.
This company uses only ethically sourced diamonds guaranteed conflict-free, even though mining such beautiful gemstones still causes environmental damage. For a more sustainable way to shop, and a good deal for your wallet and the planet, head to Vestiaire Collective to buy Suzanne Kalan second-hand.
If your heart beats for luxury but fears for the environment, we have good news for you. You can have the best of both worlds and indulge both sides of your personality with pre-loved luxury jewellery from Vestiaire Collective. There is simply no need to continue mining at the rate and scale that humans are, and it’s vital that we halt this cycle. Gold mining is one of the most destructive industries on earth, requiring tons of toxic chemicals like cyanide to be released into the environment every day and a massive amount of electricity to extract and process the mineral.
And it’s not just gold- all the gemstones and precious metals we adore in our jewellery have a dark cost. But we have an alternative to new that is just as shiny without the harmful impact— choosing recycled gold and buying jewellery second-hand does a great deal to help the environment. It reduces the demand for newly mined materials protecting our ecosystems and the communities where these materials are sourced. We can still have our pearl necklaces and diamond rings. We just have to be more thoughtful about how and where we buy them. Sustainable jewellery starts with us, the consumer. We can demonstrate with our purchases that we won’t stand for destructive and disruptive practices in the quest for a pretty bracelet. The earth is the greatest luxury of all, and together we can make a difference, one piece of pre-loved jewellery at a time.