Tuesday, August 11, 2009


The mere sight of Plaza Mayor in Salamanca, Spain sends waves of gooseflesh over us. Completed in 1755 by architect Alberto Churriguera, the exquisite, baroque detailing stuns us, as we feel transported through time.

We stand in the town hall, which once buzzed with the cheers of excited crowds watching bullfights.

We move through the ominous arches that lead into a square holding restaurants, shops, and cafés. Spain is also the home base for jewelry house Carrera y Carrera.

Carrera y Carrera stands shoulder-to-shoulder alongside designer jewelry houses Cartier (France) and Tiffany & Co. (USA).   At over 100 years old, the company is the embodiment of metalworker and sculptor Satorio Carrera's aspirations.

In 1885, upon moving to Paris, Carrera set up a workshop where he handcrafted incredible talisman-like pieces featuring the powerful musculature of leopards and panthers. Elaborate, ornate detailing became the brand's signature style as Spain's aristocrats eagerly took notice. As the company expanded pieces were created by special order of the Spanish royal family.

The extraordinary designs created by the goldsmiths presently working for the company follow the example of the company's founder. They design with great care believing that the ultimate placement of gemstones, the structure of metals is creating art.

Satoria Carrera observed nature closely understanding the purposefulness in its design. He implemented everything from textured engravings of both flowers and peacock feathers in 18-karat yellow and white gold.

The immortalization of the Taj Mahal's minute, architectural detail, the Trellis Flower, is set in white gold and embellished with diamonds.

The royal elegance of the brand's princess-themed Bridal Jewelry Collection gives homage to the princess in every woman, and the brand's luxury watches are imbued with vibrant color.

The Carrera y Carrera brand also draws inspiration from another natural phenomenon, actor Ava Gardner. World renowned for her acting talent and luminous beauty, the jewelry house devoted three collections to the starlet: Ava, Sol y Sombra, and Te Quiero.

The collections are magnificent interpretations of Gardner's personality and unique beauty, as well as the passion of Madrid--where Gardner lived for several years during the 1950s. The splendid items fashioned from white and yellow gold--sometimes in a single piece--and pavé diamonds are stunning.

The incredible, distinctive jewelry is sold in over 60 countries including Austria, Switzerland, France, Germany, and the United States.

Throughout its century-plus reign, Carrera y Carrera has acquired enviable clientele including singers Victoria Beckham and Shakira, actors Meryl Streep and the late Audrey Hepburn, and fashion designer Cristóbal Balenciaga.

Among its most distinguished clients is Spanish noblewoman Fabiola de Mora y Aragon, who wore the brand's bridal tiara when she married Belgium's King Baudouin I in 1960.
Photo 1 (top right): 18-Karat Yellow and White Gold Bull's Horn Ring with Diamonds from the Ava Collection
Photo 2 (bottom right): 18-Karat Yellow and White Gold Panther Ring with Round and Baguette Diamonds
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