Published: May 12, 2021
Elegant and timeless, Chanel jewelry is something everyone should have a piece of in their jewelry box. Coco Chanel remains to this day one of the most influential jewelry designers who revolutionized the costume jewelry industry with her designs.
In 1932, Coco Chanel experimented with fine jewelry and discovered that there isn’t yet a market for high fashion designs that cost a pretty penny. It was only in 1993 that the company reattempted introducing her jewelry concepts. Karl Lagerfeld of Chanel released Coco’s original Bijoux de Diamants collection and renamed it the 1932 Collection.
Coco’s legacy continues to make waves and has created a generation that worships her designs. Let’s take a look at the various types of jewelry that has caused the world to obsess over them, and how Chanel single-handedly created a market that continues to grow exponentially, even till this day.
Perhaps one of the most notable pieces of jewelry are Chanel earrings. Luckily, these earrings are also made for Chanel’s costume collection, which is considerably cheaper than the classic double C earrings. You can expect to find them between $450 to $2,500.
Pictured from left to right: Chanel Crystal pearl bow-tiful CC earrings in white gold, Chanel Lion Medaille earrings, Chanel Coco Crush earrings.
Bearing just the emblem of the designer and often studded in diamonds, these earrings have graced the ears of many A-list celebrities, from reality tv star Kim Kardashian down to socialites. Very few earrings on the market command the kind of attention and prevalence as the Chanel logo earrings. However, there are a few that have held their own.
Priced at $12,800 Chanel’s lion médaille earrings (pictured above in the center) are a nod to Coco’s zodiac sign. Being born under Leo gave her an affinity to the lion. It was also in Venice, the city of the lion, where Coco Chanel was able to find new inspiration after a tragic personal loss.
One of the latest Chanel pieces, the Coco Crush, can be found in the form of earrings as well as rings. Carrying the brand’s signature quilted motif, the pattern hopes to reignite the values of Coco Chanel. She was someone who loved deeply and allowed her personal life to bleed into her work, perhaps this is what made her such a visionary.
As with many of her pieces, Chanel’s earrings are versatile and are catered to both pierced and non-pierced customers so they can enjoy her designs. Featuring a clip-on function as well as a post for pierced customers, the Coco Crush earrings new go for $3,100 to $6,600, depending on the materials and precious stones used in the pieces.
The fashion mogul was known to mix and match costume jewelry with luxury pieces to give her outfits more dimension and contrast. As a leader in fashion and trends, Coco didn’t care that people of that time looked down upon or cast snide remarks about her love for costume jewelry.
Jewelry was something that was reserved for the upper classes, crafted from precious jewels and expensive metals. Costume jewelry was typically something that those who are unable to afford the real thing turned to, but Coco Chanel didn’t let such trivial stereotypes hold her back from her own kind of self-expression.
Pictured: Chanel graduated crystal pearl CC necklace.
Coco’s disregard for tradition also gave her the freedom to be creative. But this being too far ahead of her time would be grotesque, and very few would follow, especially when trying to break old norms and habits.
During her time period, affluent ladies would only wear one or two pieces of jewelry at a time, as piling it on would mean millions around one’s neck, which was considered an obscene show of wealth. Coco changed that narrative when she mixed and matched her faux pearls with her very real emeralds and rubies.
Perhaps one of the most iconic necklaces would be the layers of pearls that Chanel embodies. Coco wore pearls everywhere. She made them chic and wore them on excursions to the beach, hunting - everywhere, really. These beautiful luminescent necklaces lent her an air of elevated class and she owned it. Her fervor for pearls made everyone desire them too.
You can find pre-owned Chanel Pearls being sold for anywhere between $750 to $4,000.
Anyone who knows Coco understands her need for all wearable pieces to be versatile and you can find pearls set into different types of necklaces. From Chanel classic rope pearls to trendy pieces with fringes of pearls. You can even find them set into rings.
Chanel’s Baroque collection was crafted specially with the rebel in mind. Coco Chanel was a rebel in her time. In fact, even her name, Coco, was derivative of the word “cocotte” which is French for “kept woman”. She was her own strongest contender and wasn’t happy with being a mistress and put her passion into creating her designs.
These Baroque rings spoke of a time where being different was spurned and is the perfect piece for ladies who stand out, accentuating their daring to be different. You will need to fork out $66,200 for an original, which may be wildly out of most people’s ballpark. However, a pre-owned Baroque ring will only set you back around $7,000 or even less.
Pictured from left to right: Chanel Baroque ring with diamonds and pearls, CHANEL Coco Crush ring, Chanel Camellia ring with diamonds.
Coco did love her partners very much, after all, they were her biggest benefactors. Her Crush Collection leaves very little to be desired in their intricate detailing and beautiful story. Marketed as “some encounters you wear forever”, it seems to suggest that barring marriage and “happily ever after” Coco Chanel was more interested in love affairs and never settled down nor had children.
This was evident in her jewelry as they were romantic, dynamic, and never boring. Chanel rings from the Crush Collection go for $1,200 to $2,500.
While the life of marital bliss wasn’t for her, Chanel also offers both engagement rings and wedding bands. The Camelia collection along with the Ultra collection both brought something different to the table.
One is romantic and flowery and costs $13,950, while Ultra was made from bevels with a modern touch, giving off a more androgynous vibe. Something which Coco was a large advocate for: the “Garcon” look, which costs much less, at $4,750.
Coco Chanel’s bracelets are truly something to be revered. Take a look at their Camelia line and the pieces that are present in that collection. The Extrait De Camelia bracelet is an elegant chain bracelet featuring 18k pink gold, set with one large solitaire diamond (pictured below on the left).
Pictured: Chanel Extrait De Camelia bracelet and Chanel Impression De Camelia bracelet.
Dainty and feminine, it is a direct contradiction of another statement bracelet called Impression De Camelia bracelet (pictured above on the right). Set with multiple diamonds on a wide 18k yellow gold chain-mail, it is an eye-catching piece that is accentuated with blossoms often associated with the Camelia collection.
Pictured: Chanel Bouton De Camelia bracelet and Chanel Camelia Precieux bracelet.
Both Bouton De Camelia and Camelia Precieux feature these blossoms in 18k white gold and diamonds, yet are expressed in different ways. The former bracelet is twisted delicately and may bring a touch of dainty rebelliousness to any outfit, while the latter is one that coils around the wearer’s wrist in a sensual way.
One of the most memorable wristwear that Coco Chanel was seen sporting is a wide band of ivory encrusted with “a Maltese cross of rubies”. Perhaps serving as the inspiration for her Maltese crosses that graced her collections in a wide assortment of colors, styles, and wearables.
When the iconic designer crossed paths with Fulco di Verdura, a titled Italian, they came up with the Amalfi cross design and put it on Chanel cuffs and later necklaces and earrings. Today, these vintage designs can fetch up to $35,500 and are no longer available through Chanel’s boutiques. They can only be found through vintage designer dealers.
Chanel Brooches and Pins
Chanel loved wearing a brooch on her hat or wearing a necklace as a tiara. But we can’t talk about brooches without mentioning the Gripoix. In the 1920s Coco Chanel approached the Gripoix house, a notable Paris-based glass working company and requested that they create boldly colored glass for her line of jewelry.
The Gripoix design house was founded by Augustine Gripoix and during Coco’s time it was run by Augustine’s daughter, Suzanne Gripoix. The design house complied and made a name for itself for producing the highest quality of glass jewelry.
Pictured above from the left: Chanel Maltese Cross pin with white enamel and pearls, Chanel CC brooch in white gold and crystal peals, Chanel heart-shaped brooch with CC logo and non-precious crystals encrusted in silver.
Known for mixing imitation with natural stones, you could find precious jewels and not-so-precious materials in the same piece, be it a necklace or a brooch.
On the resale market Chanel brooches and pins generally range between $500 and 1,200. These Chanel must-have accents make any outfit stand out.
The enduring fashion of Coco Chanel
There’s no denying that Coco Chanel had a hand in influencing fashion into what it is today. Countless jewelers and designers have also found some success in emulating her original spirit, but as the legendary designer would have said, “there is only one Coco Chanel”.