For fine jewellery head to the city’s Salamanca district ‒ from colourful Spanish designs to elegant pieces by global brands, you’ll be spoiled for choice
Spain’s delight in jewellery and gems dates back hundreds of years. From beautiful gold religious items of the 1500s to dazzling gemstones brought back by 17th-century Spanish explorers, the country has long been associated with stunning pieces, and to find some of the best jewels offered in Spain today there is no better place than the capital. In particular, head to the glamorous Salamanca district. Here you’ll find Calle de Serrano, a handsome shopping street boasting more fine jewellers than anywhere else in the city. Modern makers producing pieces in silver and gold sit alongside historic houses whose most precious offerings lie locked away in vaults waiting for a discerning customer to arrive. From the old to the new, the traditional to the contemporary and the grand to the subtle, there’s a wonderfully rich choice.
One Spanish jeweller that has thrived on the broad range of tastes among Madrid’s residents and visitors is Tous. Founded in 1920, the brand is still a family business. It started as a watchmaking shop in the Catalan town of Manresa and has gone on to become one of the biggest names in Spanish jewellery.
Its jewellery line began when the founder’s daughter-in-law, Rosa Oriol, set up her own small atelier to customise special pieces, alongside the watch workshop. Expansion was rapid. As well as being offered in the brand’s many Spanish stores, Tous jewellery is now available far and wide, including in China, Japan, Russia and the US. The brand is instantly recognisable thanks to its signature bear emblem, which was designed by Rosa in 1985. With an ethos of making accessible luxury jewellery, Tous truly boasts something for everyone. From simple silver chains costing as little as €15, to the Tous Atelier collection complete with glorious necklaces studded with gemstones and priced at €5,000 and more, the brand offers jewellery items for every occasion. The Tous speciality comes in the form of dainty gold and gemstone necklaces, rings and bracelets designed to be stacked and worn together; this is luxury jewellery for every day, not for the vault.
Although it was watchmaking that began the Tous story, it is now colourful, wearable jewellery that drives the business and sets the tone for the brand’s ever-expanding range of accessories, fragrances and handbags. Omega is another well-known watchmaker that has branched into jewellery.
Founded in 1848 (and with the Omega name incorporated in 1903), the Swiss horology giant has become renowned the world over for its ground-breaking watch design. However in 2013, Omega decided to take all it had learned in the world of watches and translate it into five fine jewellery collections, each designed to sit alongside the current women’s watch models.
The Constellation, Aqua Swing, Omega Flower, Ladymatic and Omega Dewdrop collections are elegant and modern, and their pieces would fit easily with any woman’s existing jewellery range. A visit to the brand’s boutique just off Calle de Serrano offers the chance to see each of the collections.
Highlights include the silver and diamond Dewdrop earring and pendant set, perfect for an evening event; and the rose gold and ceramic Ladymatic rings, whose bold design mimics the style of the watch cases of some of the brand’s bestselling collections.
Wempe, too, has established an enviable reputation for jewellery. One of the oldest watch companies in Germany, it opened a branch on Calle de Serrano in 2000, which was also the year that the brand firmly branched into the world of fine jewellery.
Three years later, Kim-Eva Wempe, great granddaughter of the company’s founder, took charge and put her love of jewellery at the heart of Wempe’s agenda. As well as developing the Wempe jewellery line (the brand had previously sold other labels’ fine jewellery but rarely designed in-house), she also launched By Kim, a contemporary fine line intended, in part, to modernise the historic company. The Daily Colors By Kim collection is a firm favourite of visitors.
It offers a selection of tourmalines and diamonds in fresh minimal designs, perfect for every day. The latest collection features citrines and diamonds set in rose gold, and is inspired by bees, which adds a new touch of frivolity to the brand’s offering. All Wempe’s jewellery has broad appeal. ‘Each piece represents something special to the client – it could be a milestone reached, the birth of a child, a birthday or a token of love’, remarks Kim-Eva Wempe. ‘Jewellery turns dreams into reality’.
Whether you are shopping for a special occasion, an everyday item or a stunning souvenir of your time in Madrid, the jewellery boutiques of the Salamanca district will not disappoint. From pieces featuring gleaming gemstones to more subtle items in gold or silver, there’s a rich and tempting range.