Fred Samuel, the jeweller to the stars and designer of the future

Fred Samuel, the jeweller to the stars and designer of the future

Diamond expert

Text: Vimidamini Haridasan

Decades on, Fred Samuel’s vision of the future has continued to bring fans to the French jewellery brand

Having built up a fan base over the years since the brand first started in 1936, Fred has always looked to the future when creating its jewellery pieces. Started by Fred Samuel in Paris, the Argentinian-born designer took the world by storm and established himself among the storied French jewellery houses. He fashioned himself as a modern jewellery designer and strived to create pieces that would be classically modern without ever going out of style. We dig a little deeper to learn more about the man behind the brand and the House of Fred.

The man himself

Born to a jeweller in 1908, Fred Samuel brought the inspiration of his native home and his childhood to his designs as well as his love for everything aquatic. Sent to live in Paris at the age of 16 by his father, he started out working for a company that traded stones and pearls. Carrying on his passion for aquatic sport even after he moved to Paris, the designer was often seen rowing on the Marne River on Sunday afternoons. His love for water sports was soon passed down to his sons who went on to become European sailing champions while the sea provided him with the inspiration to produce a collection, Force 10, in 1966 that took its name from the gale force wind preventing sailboats from sailing the open sea.


Fred in Paris

His achievements spanned decades and in that time, he raked up numerous accolades. Among his successes and talents was his ability to foresee the potential that lay ahead in Paris, where revenue could be made apart from the relying on museums. Opening the doors to the exclusive world of French jewellery, he created trinkets and charms that embodied the monuments of Paris. These trinkets soon proved to be very popular with American tourists. Fred-Samuel-Name-card-1936

The royals

Royal families from around the world soon became fans of his creations. When the Sultana of Brunei was no longer enamoured by crystal-clear white diamonds, Fred Samuel rose to the challenge of finding her diamonds in yellow, pink and other various colours. Apart from providing pieces and gems to the Sultana of Brunei, Fred Samuel found himself as one of the many prestigious jewellers to supply the royal family of Monaco with gems. When he established a boutique in Monte Carlo, it was inaugurated by Princess Grace of Monaco. And when the '60s came around, and the supply of oil in the Middle East was discovered, Fred soon found himself to be the preferred jeweller to wealthy Arab families with a large appetite for fine jewellery and a budget to match it.


The landmarks

His expertise in diamonds and gems made the House of Fred a much sought after jeweller. In 1977, the House of Fred and Fred Samuel introduced a fancy yellow diamond named the Soleil d'Or to the world. The diamond weighed 105.54 carats and was considered one of the world's most extraordinary diamonds.


The movie star

Remember that scene in Pretty Woman when the dashing Richard Gere presented Julia Roberts with an elaborate necklace as she stood in the elevator of the Four Seasons? Well, the House of Fred was responsible for taking our breaths away and making the Oscar-winning actress the envy of women the world over. Set with 23 rubellites, the elaborate necklace was intertwined with heart, marquise and brilliant cut diamonds.


Check out more stories on Fred here.