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Fred: From the Soleil d'Or to Pretty Woman ...

by Julie MIALET 24 Sep 2022

On the occasion of the great retrospective exhibition "Fred, jeweler-creator since 1936" held in Paris at the Palais de Tokyo, I decided to tell you a little about this great house of the Place Vendôme.

Born in 1908 in Buenos Aires, Argentina to parents who fled Alsace after the French defeat in 1870, Fred Samuel grew up in a family of merchants.

In 1924, at the age of 16, he returned to Paris to work on the launch of cultured pearls, a pink shade of which was eventually named "Couleur Fred".

In 1936, at the age of 28, he opened his first boutique in the 8th arrondissement of Paris: "Fred Samuel, le moderne, joaillier, créateur". The name he chose for himself, proof of his audacity, was reflected in his creations and made him famous, a fame that brought him Barbara Hutton and Marlene Dietrich as clients.

World War II hit Fred hard and forced him to change his name. Fred Samuel became Fred, a name he kept afterwards "so as not to forget".

The post-war period began for Fred with a commission from the King of Nepal for an emerald and diamond tiara which he gave to his wife for their joint coronation in 1956. From this first commission, the Royal Court of Nepal would call upon Fred on numerous occasions for over 25 years.

In the 1960's with the help of his sons Henri and Jean, Fred became international by opening stores in the United States.

Between multiple collaborations with artists such as Jean Cocteau, Bernard Buffet or Georges Braque for the creation of collections, the company experienced a form of renewal in 1976 by opening a boutique in Monte Carlo. The opening in the presence of Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco was a source of inspiration for Fred, who returned to the sea and the light so dear to him while becoming a supplier to the Monegasque royal family.

"Monte Carlo has marked the course of my career. It symbolizes the place where the light of the stones was restored to me" Fred Samuel, Mémoire d'un Joaillier, Paris, éditions du rocher, 1992.

From this year on, the company will make a specialty of using colored diamonds and as such will buy a yellow diamond of 105.54 carats in 1977 that it will name "Soleil d'Or". This same diamond was purchased in 2021 by the founder's granddaughter, Valérie Samuel, who is now the artistic director and vice-president of the company, who will reinstate it in her collections.

In 1978 Fred launched the "Force 10" collection inspired by sailing, which remains one of his greatest successes. It is available in white, yellow and pink gold, as necklaces, bracelets, glasses, earrings and rings. This unisex model, for both men and women, remains the best-seller and timeless of the house.

At the turn of the 1990s, Fred was considered one of the ten greatest jewelers in the world and began to be associated with the cinema. He signed the necklace worn by Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman and later created an entire collection.

In 1995, Fred was bought by the LVMH group.

Nowadays, Fred continues its history from the rue de la paix, with its famous sugarloaf collection released in 2011 and its interchangeable stones, larimar, tourmaline, amazonite, rose quartz, topaz, mother of pearl, lapis lazuli, chalcedony, chrysocolla, rubellite, carnelian, turquoise, amethyst, hawk's eye, prasiolite, chrysoprase, smoky quartz, rutile quartz, ebony, inspired by Fred's South American childhood, a nod to Brazil and Argentina.


If you are interested in Fred's jewelry, don't hesitate to discover what Les Pierres de Julie has to offer in store...

We are also available for free appraisal of your jewelry, for this you can send an email with your pictures to

Whether you're interested in buying a piece of jewellery or a stone, a free jewelry appraisal or jewelry resale, Pierres de Julie welcomes you to its Parisian boutique in the Village Suisse, a stone's throw from the Ecole Militaire and the Esplanade des Invalides.

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