International Women's Day 2023: The Female Jewellers Who Shaped Our Industry

| 4 min read

Every year on March 8th, over 100 countries around the world celebrate International Women’s Day.

International Women’s Day recognises the achievements of women around the world, and has done since 1975 after the United Nations officially declared it. Before that, it was only observed in the USA from 1909.

There are so many iconic female figures in the gemstone industry, and their talent and prowess have helped make the gemstone world what it is today. So, this International Women’s Day, we’re paying tribute to just a few of the many inspiring women who have shaped our industry.

CHARLOTTE NEWMAN (1836 – 1920)

Charlotte Newman

Often called ‘the first important lady jeweller’, jewellery designer Charlotte Newman was known for her archaeological revival jewellery. After designing jewellery in Covent Garden for manufacturer John Brogden, her unique and travel-inspired designs were the catalysts of her success.

During her career, Newman designed jewellery pieces for countless iconic women including Princess Louise, the sixth child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. She also started her own jewellery shop, called Mrs Newman’s, after Brogden passed away in 1884. Known in her lifetime as ‘London’s leading lady goldsmith’, Newman’s pieces continue to be highly sought after even after her death.

For more information about Charlotte Newman, click here.

COCO CHANEL (1833 – 1971)

Coco Chanel

It's a name we’ve all heard before, but the talents of Gabrielle Bonheur ‘Coco’ Chanel truly knew no bounds. After founding the Chanel brand in 1910, Coco changed the face of women’s fashion and broke the mould with new, modern and elegant styles.

A true style icon, Chanel believed in simple and innovative looks that are less time consuming and less expensive, but also more effective in their design. Chanel’s jewellery collections were the driving force behind combining costume jewellery and genuine gemstones, at a time when jewellery was made to just contain one or the other.

For more information about Coco Chanel, click here.


Maureen Muggeridge

After graduating as a geologist in 1971, Muggeridge made her way to Perth, Western Australia. Just a few years later, she discovered Diamonds in East Kimberley, specifically in the flood plains that surround Smoke Creek – a small stream that drains into Lake Argyle.

From there, the Australian Argyle Diamond mine was born.

In short, Muggeridge discovered one of the largest and most valuable sources of Diamonds that we’ve ever seen, and are likely to ever see again. She was truly remarkable, and the quality of her legacy lives on in the gemstones she found.

For more information about Maureen Muggeridge, click here.

ELSA PERETTI (1940 – 2021)

Elsa Peretti

Considered one of the finest jewellery designers of the 20th century, Elsa Peretti was highly regarded by a range of famous jewellery houses with Tiffany & Co being the most popular. Peretti designed over 30 collections for Tiffany’s and, in 2015, her trademarked jewellery represented 8% of their net sales.

Also a philanthropist and fashion model, Italian-born Peretti drew inspiration from her travels when it came to her jewellery creations. Her work is referred to as modern, timeless and revolutionary, and we hold it in just as high a regard.

For more information about Elsa Peretti, click here.


Jeanne Toussaint (1887 – 1978): A French jewellery designer and former director of Cartier’s luxury jewellery department, known for the creation of the brand’s animal motifs including whimsical birds and the iconic panther.

Paloma Picasso (1949 –): A renowned jewellery designer and the youngest daughter of Pablo Picasso and Françoise Gilot, Paloma Picasso debuted her first collection for Tiffany & Co in 1980. She was best known for designing with semiprecious stones during a time where ‘real’ jewellery could only contain Diamonds.

Clearly, the influence of women on the jewellery and gemstone industry has been astronomical. Between female jewellers past and present, as well as all the powerful and talented females we have here at Gemporia, we truly wouldn’t be where we are today without them.

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