MORE THAN 130 YEARS OF JEWELLERY TRADITION
Its jewellery tradition and exceptional craftsmanship have made Carrera y Carrera one of the international references among jewellery brands, renowned as one of the 30 most prestigious jewellery firms in the world. The brand has become an icon of luxury due to its unique style, imaginative designs, and magnificent jewellery pieces where gold and precious stones come to life.
Saturio Esteban Carrera, a young man born in the lands of the Archpriest of Hita, immigrates to Madrid to establish a small jewelry business in the so-called Barrio de las Letras. From his small and simple workshop, Saturio never imagined that his legacy would become one of the leading fine jewelry companies worldwide, and a pillar for the Spanish jewelry industry.
José Esteban Carrera, Saturio’s son, learns the jewelry trade in Paris. Upon his return, he decides to continue the family tradition and opens a workshop on Santa Isabel Street in Madrid. Having no sons, he teaches his trade to his four nephews: José, Saturio, Pedro, and Andrés. Under the tutelage of their uncle, the family creates a revolutionary style in the cutting and engraving of gems.
The royal nuptials of King Baudouin I of Belgium and Spanish aristocrat Fabiola of Mora y Aragón, present the occasion for the Carrera family to receive one of the most prestigious commissions in the history of the brand. The wedding tiara with mounted stones worn by the bride was created in the Carrera artisan workshop.
After having learned the trade from the great jewelers of Madrid of the period, Manuel Carrera, great-grandson of Saturio Esteban Carrera, opens his own jewelry workshop in the Madrid of the Austrians (the old center of Madrid) – a perfect location that would serve as inspiration for the later style of the brand. A unique and groundbreaking style that would last for several decades.
From the beginning, Manuel Carrera was clear on what he wanted – that Carrera y Carrera become an internationally-recognized brand. It was May 1968 when Manuel traveled to Paris to exhibit his work in the exhibition palace at an event organized by the Spanish Chamber of Commerce. He couldn’t have imagined that one of his first international trips would coincide with such a historic moment for the neighboring country, France. That liberal vision that surged in May ‘68 in Paris increased Manuel Carrera’s need to express his own personal vision and make it manifest within the classic jewelry industry of the period.
In addition to annually attending Iberjoya, the Spanish jewelry trade fair, Carrera y Carrera decides to exhibit in the third edition of Baselworld, the prestigious international jewelry and watch fair. From that moment on Carrera y Carrera faithfully keeps its annual rendez vous at Baselworld. Currently, the brand exhibits in the hall of global brands next to major international jewelry and watch firms. One of the first collections presented at the fair was the successful Edén, inspired by love.
From the company’s inception it was very clear that to be successful a point of differentiation was extremely important. To achieve this, a unique and groundbreaking style was created, based on the creation of larger pieces with a strong symbolic and figurative component with animal and, above all, human themes that were fundamentally feminine. A unique style where the work in volumes and meticulous artistry elevated the collections to the pinnacle of jewelry. This style expressed itself in successful collections such as Bonadea, the first international success for the brand, also known as the Las Manos (“Hands”) collection.
Important markets for the world of luxury and jewelry such as the United States start to demand Carrera y Carrera creations. The brand reaches an international milestone when it starts to be distributed in New York by the Cellini boutique located in the fabulous Waldorf-Astoria hotel on Park Avenue. Today, Carrera y Carrera pieces continue to be available in this boutique.
Carrera y Carrera renews its image and launches a new corporate identity. Meanwhile, Carrera y Carrera continues to reinforce itself through a strong inspiration in the natural world that will continue throughout the years and allow the brand’s designs to be recognized internationally. The animal world is the constant of this era: felines, serpents, and elephants are just a few of the animals that have formed part of the Carrera y Carrera jewelry menagerie.
In the 1980s, Carrera y Carrera presents President Ronald Reagan of the United States with a gift of El Rodeo, an allegorical sculpture in silver and calcite, currently on exhibit in the White House Museum.
The first Carrera y Carrera boutique opens on Serrano Street in Madrid, the Spanish Golden Mile. Over 25 years later the company continues to have a presence on this street that represents luxury in Spain.
The workshop and offices of Carrera y Carrera move to San Agustín del Guadalix. The firm’s monumental, yet modern building responds to the needs of an independent and strong brand. A new location surrounded by the nature that on many occasions has served as inspiration to the brand’s designers.
Carrera y Carrera gradually becomes a favorite among the aristocracy, the upper middle class, and royalty all over the world. Her Majesty Queen Sofía, a great admirer of the brand, becomes in 1992 the godmother of a spectacular piece created by Manuel Carrera and the artisan goldsmiths of Carrera y Carrera – El Arca del Descrubimiento del Quinto Centenario. (“The Ark of Discovery of the Fifth Centennial”).
During the 90s Carrera y Carrera continues its international expansion into new markets. In 1994, the brand begins its successful course in Russia, one of its most important markets where the brand is in high demand. Lovers of jewelry art admire and appreciate the brand’s unique style. Since that time, Carrera y Carrera has become one of the most prestigious and sought after jewelry firms in Russia and Eastern European markets.
At the start of the new millennium Carrera y Carrera reinvents itself once again, implementing a new corporate identity, a new retail concept, and adding Miriam of Ungría, Princess of Turnovo, to its design team. This collaboration gives rise to the mythical collection Jardín de Rosas, (“Garden of Roses”) within which the ring Lago de Rosas (“Lake of Roses”) would go on to become one of the best-sellers for the brand.
The sculpture El sueño de Ícaro (“Icarus’ Dream”), a spectacular piece belonging to the company’s private collection, is exhibited in the most important jewelry museum in the world, the Armory Museum in the Kremlin.
One of the most international Spanish models becomes the face of Carrera y Carrera for several years running. Eugenia Silva personified the characteristics of the Carrera y Carrera woman: beautiful, elegant, different, full of character, and above all, passionate.
One of the most successful collections in all Carrera y Carrera history is born: Círculos de Fuego. The collection draws its inspiration from the most mystical aspect of Asian culture, the fire dragons revered all over Asia. Bold pieces with a strong artistic component where the brand’s jewelry expertise achieves its maximum splendor. The characteristic Carrera y Carrera matte-gloss effect may be especially appreciated in the pieces that comprise this collection.
The Aqua ring, with its voluminous shapes and cashmere patterns as inspiration, launches this year and in a short amount of time becomes one of the brand icons and an international best-seller. Numerous celebrities have worn this piece through the years.
During one of the periods of greatest growth and brand recognition, Carrera y Carrera launches its new image, supported by a slogan that perfectly summarizes the brand philosophy: Start your Revolution. Almudena Fernández, one of the most international Spanish models, stars in the advertising campaign created in New York. The campaign reasserted the brand’s Spanish identity and the joy, sense of beauty, and energy are part of the image of Spain all over the world.
Many celebrities have fallen prey to the pieces of the Bestiario collection. Wild animals that reemerge with all of their strength give life to a stunning collection. Tigers, eagles, serpents, crocodiles, and giraffes comprise a collection where sculptures crafted in gold do not go unnoticed.
Carrera y Carrera continues expanding across borders, opening three subsidiaries in 2010. Russia, the United States, and Japan are the countries selected by the brand in order to maintain complete control over the distribution and points of sale in these markets.
Following in the footsteps of her predecessors – two other major international Spanish models – Alejandra Alonso becomes the face of the new Carrera y Carrera advertising campaign. A Spanish face of singular beauty, full of presence and strength. This time inspiration comes from one of the best picture galleries in the world, the Museo del Prado (Prado Museum) located in the heart of Madrid. Carrera y Carrera draws its inspiration from the cultural richness of this museum.
Paying tribute to the essence of Carrera y Carrera, brand founder Manuel Carrera unveils his private collection. A series of limited edition pieces inspired by two iconic Carrera y Carrera collections, Edén and Bonadea, where once again the jewelry sculpture concept that has brought so much success to the brand over time is made manifest.
Following the warm reception of the brand during the Universal Expo of Shanghai in 2010, Carrera y Carrera finally arrives in China with a flagship store in Beijing. Carrera y Carrera crosses borders once more to bring its exclusive pieces to this country, a market with strong demand for the company’s creations and essential to any international brand.