The Spanish firm of Carrera y Carrera, established in 1885, has long been considered one of Europe’s most important jewelry ateliers, known for a wide variety of lines with some looks fanciful and light-hearted and others tailored and classic, but the bulk of the firm’s offerings can best be described as figurative. It was Saturio Esteban Carrera who opened the original landmark shop in Madrid. His son, who ventured to Paris for lapidary studies, carried on the tradition and when he was ready to bequeath the business to the next generation, since he had no sons of his own, it was his four nephews — José, Saturio, Pedro, and Andrés—who inherited the concern.
The foursome grew the business, catering to the wealthy and aristocratic, creating tiaras for royalty, elegant parures of jewels for the well-heeled, and ultimately landing some of Europe’s most prized commissions, solidifying the jeweler’s reputation. By the 1960s and early ‘70s, Saturio’s great-grandsons Manuel and Juan José established the brand as it is known today, although it is no longer family-owned. The company secured a New York outlet, at the Cellini boutique where Carrera y Carrera jewels are still sold today. Cellini is but one of the firm’s retailers and the brand is currently available in over forty countries around the globe.
The firm continues to offer vast diversity among its lines of 18K jewelry, often finished in a mix of brushed and polished gold to add texture and detail. The pieces are characterized often by animal motifs, including swans, pelicans, monkeys, dragons, birds, stallions, leopards, tigers, and all manner of floral themes, from bamboo to roses. The Spanish government often calls upon Carrera y Carrera to create special pieces for trophies, prizes, and awards. President Ronald Reagan was the recipient of a Carrera y Carrera gift, “El Rodeo,” an allegorical sculpture fabricated in silver and calcite.