The Spanish lux jewelry label Carrera y Carrera—created in 1885—has established a seal of quality, unique deigns, history, and innovation that rivals the most famous jewelers in Europe. For more than 100 years, the brand has evolved into a solid protagonist in the Spanish jewelry scene. Through time, it has remained loyal to the principles of traditional hand-crafted pieces, which they treat like delicate, precious works of art.
In 1885, José Esteban Carrera began hand-carving precious stones from his Madrid studio, located in Santa Isabel Street. Years later, his descendants, riding on Carrera’s fame and notoriety, created the exclusive jewelry label, Carrera y Carrera.
In the 1950s, they begin to accept their first truly important commissions from the Spanish elite garnering the attention of the most exclusive clientele. The big breakthrough came in 1960, when—on the occasion of the wedding of H.R.M. King Baudouin of Belgium to the Spaniard Fabiola de Mora and Aragon—Carrera y Carrera was selected by the Spanish Crown to create a tiara for Queen Fabiola as the kingdom’s official wedding gift. During the 70s and 80s, Carrera y Carrera starts making inroads in the international luxury jewelry market with a dramatic push for expansion and name recognition, a period that culminates in 1999 with the intervention of a group of investors, led by María Eugenia Girón and Louis Urvois, whose goal was to modernize the brand, bring it to the 21st-century, and push its sales beyond the European borders.
Some years later, economist Sonia Ruiz takes charge of the design department and introduces iconic collections that further raised the brand’s profile. These included Baile de Mariposas (Dance of the Butterflies) and Taj Mahal.
By 2001, Lladró, a leading name in porcelain production, and design pumps 15 million Euros into the firm, and by 2006 Lladró had taken complete control of the company’s shares. Girón later leaves the firm and is replaced with Alain Viot.
One year later, in 2007, Carrera y Carrera had grown its international presence to 26 countries—a benchmark for the firm—with 19 boutiques and over 250 sales outlets. Russia and Japan were their most significant markets at the time. To better serve these completely different customers, the brand was forced to adapt to their client’s specific demands: in Japan, they preferred smaller, intimate pieces, while in Russia and the U.S., there was a predilection for large, bold jewels to be worn at lavish parties international social events, and philanthropic galas.
The company’s profits have greatly increased since the acquisition of the brand by a group of undisclosed Russian investors in 2010. The company has a presence in more than 40 countries, and their pieces are sold in hundreds of stores worldwide. They have flagship boutiques in Madrid and Barcelona and operate many of their own boutiques. Other franchises in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and the United Arab Emirates complete the brand’s roster of exclusive shops. We should also include in the list dozens of duty-free outlets around the world.
From their Madrid headquarters, Carrera y Carrera caters to an international demand that allows them to export 80% of its production to strategic markets in the United States, Japan, Russia, and China, concentrating on the American market, where European jewelry is still very popular for their exquisite craftsmanship and classic aesthetics. Their main global competitors are Pomellato, Gucci, and Dior.
From their Madrid workshop, Carrera y Carrera has positioned itself among the world’s most prestigious jewelry brands with stylish brand ambassadors such as Olivia Palermo.
You can review their latest collections on their website at www.carreraycarrera.com. ■