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The 3 Best Jewelry Brands in the World

Best Jewelry Brands

When it comes to luxurious jewelry, there are a ton of choices to pick from out there and that’s a fact. Regardless of whether you’re looking for something more casual or if you really want to stand out from the crowd the fact of the matter is that nowadays good jewelry is a lot harder to find.

There are simply put too many options to choose from and depending on what occasion you want the jewelry for you might find yourself unfit to wear your favorite brands anymore.

This is why for today we decided to bring you our very own comprehensible list of the top 25 best jewelry brands out there.

While this may very well be an objective look into the best jewelry brands out there, remember that there is a certain reason as to why most of these are on every top list out there and that’s definitely the consistent quality that you get from them.

David Morris

David Morris

Back in 1951, David Morris had set his gaze upon the jewelry industry and even though the competition was rough, he made it through and established his brand as one of the top companies in the world in record time.

He was even the one to make the crown for the Miss World event and on top of that he also had a hand in creating the jewelry that the lead actress in the James Bond movies wore on set.

Verdura

Verdura

Verdura is the kind of jewelry company that you get into if you have a lot of money and you want to make the most expensive but also the most unique collection your money could buy.

That’s right, this is a collector’s dream come true here and they clearly know it since most of their products are just outstanding to say the least. Just look at the legendary Maltese Cross Cuffs or the Verdura Curb Link bracelet.

You already know you’re getting the best of the best when you go for Verdura and they never disappoint regardless of the price tag.

Lugano

Lugano

If you want to both stand out but also limit the amount of attention your jewelry gets then Lugano might definitely be the perfect choice for you.

What we mean by this is the fact that although from up close you will instantly attract every eye that can see your jewelry, from farther away you will be discreet enough to not seem overly pompous about it.

They make some of the best “old” diamond jewelry on the market, the type that you can wear both to incredibly important events and to just about any meetup with your friends or loved ones as well.

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verdura jewelry

The Story of Verdura’s Maltese Cross Cuffs

Maltese Cross Cuffs

An irreverent attitude shared by Fulco di Verdura and Coco Chanel is the starting point for one of the most iconic designs of all time. Oh sure there are important art historical references and cultural touch points, but it was really the designers shared outlook that got things underway.

Coco Chanel loved jewelry, but she really didn’t care if her pieces were costume or precious. “A woman should mix fake and real,” she once declared. “The point of jewelry isn’t to make a woman look rich but to adorn her—not the same thing.” The designer practiced what she preached always piling on her costume jewelry with the fine jewelry she received from various lovers including the Russian Grand Duke Dmitri and the Duke of Westminster who reputedly gave her a jewel every week with a bouquet of flowers.

By 1927 Chanel was 44-years old with a full treasury. It was around this time she met the titled Italian whose full name amounts to Fulco Santostefano della Cerda the Duke of Verdura. According to Verdura’s biographer Patricia Corbett Sicilian nobility were famously indifferent to pecuniary matters. A perfect example of the Duke’s imprudence was the Palermo Ball he threw in 1929 inviting tout le monde and blowing the remains of his inheritance at the tender age of 30. This attitude applied to jewelry meant Verdura was fearless about breaking the rules.

Fulco di Verdura and Coco Chanel

Fulco di Verdura and Coco Chanel admiring a Maltese Cross cuff in 1937. Photo by Lipnitzki/Getty

One of the first things Chanel asked Verdura to do when he began working for her was redesign her personal jewelry collection. A look at Chanel’s jewels in photographs from the period clearly reveal Verdura’s distinctive hand. Other details about his work during his early years at Chanel are scant.  “We do know they made beautiful jewelry together,” says Verdura Chairman & CEO Ward Landrigan. “Frustratingly, little of it has resurfaced over time.”

It is well established the relationship between the two was close. They went on inspiration trips. Verdura guided Chanel through the Renaissance jewelry at the Treasury of the Munich Residence as well as the collection of Augustus the Strong and Charlemagne in Dresden. They vacationed in Italy and visited the Byzantine mosaic of Empress Theodora in the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna.

One design outcome of their travels were Fulco’s first Maltese cross designs—a pair of slightly mismatched gold brooches with multi-color semiprecious stones. The collage of gems in the pieces harkens back to jewelry the pair admired during their travels but were unlike anything being created during the 1930s. The Maltese cross shape (sometimes referred to as the Amalfi cross) of the brooches was the jewelry designer’s loose interpretation of the star of the Knights of Malta.

Coco Chanel

Coco Chanelphotographed by Man Ray in 1935Photo © 2016 Man Ray Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Like many of the motifs Verdura used in jewelry, the Maltese cross links back to his childhood growing up in Sicily not far from the Amalfi coast and the Island of Malta, home base for the First Crusades. The Maltese cross brooches were gifted to fashion editor extraordinaire Diana Vreeland who was a dear friend of both Chanel and Verdura and one of the people responsible for bringing the pair together.

The next Maltese cross jewels Verdura made were a marginally mismatched pair of white enamel bracelets for Chanel’s personal collection. The stone arrangement on each cross is completely unique. In keeping with the design duos blasé attitude about the difference between fine and costume jewels, bracelets were composed of a base silver alloy. Chanel loved the pieces and wore them constantly. They appear on her wrist in formal and casual photos. It would not be an exaggeration to say she wore them with abandon—the white enamel on the jewels is seriously chipped.

Coco Chanel

The wear on Coco Chanel’s bracelets reveal that she virtually lived in them. Photo by Sally Davie

Since the original Maltese Cross Cuffs were created around 1930, Verdura has made any number of variations on the original work.  Over the years the artistic soul of the design has remained while the materials have become more refined.  The most iconic versions are set on black or white jade cuffs. The most luxurious renditions, the Theodora cuffs were created to celebrate Verdura’s 75th anniversary, since the company opened its doors in New York City in 1939. The deluxe limited edition series of 200 black enamel and gold cuffs each have 31 gems including a 9-carat sapphire, a 5-carat emerald and a 5-carat amethyst.  Some playful spins on the cuff concepts—Chanel and Verdura would have surely approved—feature unique centerpieces with gemmy designs. “A cuff after all is a great canvas to place a motif,” says Landrigan.

Gold and black jade Maltese Cross cuffs

Gold and black jade Maltese Cross cuffs by Verdura. Photo by Sally Davies

Any number of celebrities have been spotted in the Verdura cuffs throughout the years.  For the 75th Anniversary exhibition at the New York boutique several loaned their personal pieces to the presentation including Sarah Jessica Parker, Brooke Shields, Whoopi Goldberg and Sofia Coppola.  Among all the women Coppola is seen wearing her cuffs most often at casual and formal events.  When she was on Vanity Fair’s Best Dressed list in 2006, she said the onyx Verdura cuffs were her favorite jewels.

Sofia Coppola

Sofia Coppola wearing her favorite Verdura cuffs in 2012.

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Verdura’s 75-year-old secret

Verdura Jewelry

Heralded as “America’s crown jeweler” by The New York Times, Verdura is the epitome of Hollywood glamour. After Italian founder Duke Fulco di Verdura befriended the inimitable Coco Chanel in the 1920s and began to redesign her fine jewelry line, Verdura realized where his talent truly lay. Verdura’s Sicilian-inspired designs soon set a new standard for fine jewelry, captivating starlets such as Marlene Dietrich and Joan Crawford. Today, the brand continues to create exceptional pieces with the rarest of diamonds, pearls and other gemstones for those who are unafraid to shine. Invest in a Verdura original with our collection of the brand’s luxe fine jewelry below.

Coco Chanel

As Vogue proclaimed in 1937, Verdura’s work was “The Real Thing – enormous, entertaining, ornamental, personal and witty.” Born into Sicilian aristocracy, he showed an early proclivity for drawing, a curiosity about the natural world and a healthy disdain for convention. It was meeting Linda and Cole Porter on their Grand Tour in Sicily that started it all. In 1925, at a party in Venice, they introduced him to Coco Chanel and by 1927 he was working for her in Paris. With her influence, he forged a new colorful and bold look in jewels, changing the course of jewelry design for the rest of the 20th century.

Ruby Heart Brooch

As it became time for Verdura to move out of Chanel’s shadow, Hollywood beckoned. He began designing for Paul Flato, then the favored “jeweler to the stars.” Among many other pieces for stars and their films, he designed a beautiful brooch for client Tyrone Power to give to his wife that was the inspiration for the now famous Wrapped Ruby Heart Brooch, below.

The Maltese Cross Brooch

But Verdura came fully into his own back in New York. With the partial backing of Cole Porter, he opened his Fifth Avenue boutique on September 1, 1939 and became the darling of New York society for decades to come. Each piece was unique and expressed as much about his individual clients as his own creativity. Combining old world elegance with a new unpretentious approach to jewelry, his treasures focussed more on taste and style than intrinsic value. The Maltese Cross Brooch below, commissioned by Clare Booth Luce in 1944, repurposed her own diamonds.

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Verdura High Jewellery

Diana Vreeland

Duke Fulco di Verdura (1899–1978) began his career in 1920s Paris, designing the iconic Maltese Cross Cuffs for his friend Coco Chanel. In 1934 Verdura ventured to America and designed jewels for stars of the era, including Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich. He officially became an “American jeweler” on September 1, 1939, the day war broke out in Europe, when his friends, Cole Porter and Vincent Astor, financed his debut on Fifth Avenue. With Europe off-limits during the war, Verdura gained a following of high-profile clients among New York society and fashion’s best-dressed list, enticed by Verdura’s bold yet understated “chic”.

VERDURA BABY BYZANTINE EARCLIPS

VERDURA BABY BYZANTINE EARCLIPS

In the early 1930s, Verdura toured Europe with Coco Chanel, visiting the Byzantine mosaics in Ravenna. The richly hued portrait of Empress Theodora inspired Verdura to press gems into gold tiles.  Among the first pieces Verdura made were the Theodora and Ravenna Brooches, vibrant starburst designs that symbolized their notable departure from contemporary jewelry of the era. Famed fashion editor, Diana Vreeland, recognized their importance and quickly acquired them. She wore them often, even pinning them on her turban

VERDURA CAGED RING

VERDURA CAGED RING

Verdura’s fascination with birds can be traced back to his childhood home where an enormous birdcage filled the foyer. Decades later and a world away, the simplistic and utilitarian design from his childhood inspired him to create the first Caged Ring in aquamarine and rose gold, owned by Dorothy Paley Hirshon

VERDURA CAGED DROP EARRINGS

VERDURA CAGED DROP EARRINGS

With over twenty-eight faceted mixed-cut rock crystals, the Caged Drop Earrings is Fulco di Verdura at his most irreverent.  A marriage of maracas and elegance, this design is as fun as it is timeless.

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Verdura Receives Town & Country Jewelry Award For The Ravenna Cuff Introduction

Jewelry Award

RAVENNA CUFF

RAVENNA CUFF

The Ravenna Cuff was created by Verdura for his friend Coco Chanel while collaborating with her in the early 1930s. The Ravenna Cuff incorporates bold color splashes to create an effect that is wild, profligate, and unrestrained.

Ravenna

The Ravenna Cuff was created by Verdura for his friend Coco Chanel while collaborating with her in the early 1930s. The Ravenna Cuff incorporates bold color splashes to create an effect that is wild, profligate, and unrestrained.

• Amethyst, aquamarine, peridot, ivory enamel and 18k gold

 

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verdura jewelry

Fashion Friday: Priceless–Verdura Jewelry At 75

Maltese Cross Hinged Stone Cuffs

Two good friends—Women’s Voices board members—wearing ‘Maltese Cross Hinged Stone Cuffs’ by Verdura. (Photo by Cheryl Fleming |

Priceless and Ageless. After 75 years, this is Verdura.

How fitting that the famed jewelry company celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. Nobody did glamour better than the man who started it all in 1939, Duke Fulco di Verdura, master jewelry designer to Hollywood stars back when Hollywood stars were synonymous with style and elegance—the likes of leading ladies such as Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, and Joan Crawford. He was also the designer for that era’s elegant socialites, women who were known for their beauty and style. For these stunning women Fulco created the fabulous necklaces, brooches, and bracelets they wore in their films, awards ceremonies, and great parties.

To celebrate its 75th, Verdura has launched The Power of Style: Verdura at 75, a rare retrospective exhibition in New York City now open through December 23. The exhibition is curated by three internationally admired style-makers and Verdura aficionados: Carolina and Reinaldo Herrera, longtime friends of Verdura, and their daughter Patricia Lansing. On view are some of Verdura’s most priceless creations: Coco Chanel’s original cuffs and Greta Garbo’s bracelet watch as well as a selection of more than 200 of Duke Fulco di Verdura’s original jewels and objets d’art on loan from collectors around the world, many of which have never before been on public display. There is jewelry from the private collections of modern-day style icons Sofia Coppola, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Brooke Shields.  With selections from Verdura’s 10,000 gouache jewelry designs, archival materials, personal miniature paintings, and rare period photographs, the exhibition brings to life Vedura’s inspirations and gives dimension to the social landscape during the six decades he designed.

“Verdura not only defined glamour for generations of women, but continue to influence fashion today,” says Women’s Voices for Change board member Colleen Caslin, COO of Verdura fine jewelry since 2008.

Last Sunday, CBS Sunday Morning featured the company’s storied history and gave viewers a glimpse into the exhibition, revealing how significant both the jeweler and his designs is to contemporary fashion.

jeweler to the stars

Verdura, jeweler to the stars

This holiday season, Verdura has created its 75th Anniversary Collection, inspired by the Power of Style exhibition. The collection draws from designs that date back to the early 1930s and ’40s with gifts like the one-of-a-kind emerald Scarf Necklace.

Verdura Holiday

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Verdura Jewelry In A Cage

cage rings

Duke Fulco di Verdura (1899–1978) began his career in 1920s Paris, designing the iconic Maltese Cross Cuffs for his friend Coco Chanel. In 1934 Verdura ventured to America and designed jewels for stars of the era, including Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich. He officially became an “American jeweler” on September 1, 1939, the day war broke out in Europe, when his friends, Cole Porter and Vincent Astor, financed his debut on Fifth Avenue. With Europe off-limits during the war, Verdura gained a following of high-profile clients among New York society and fashion’s best-dressed list, enticed by Verdura’s bold yet understated “chic”.

The simplistic and utilitarian design of the birdcage inspired Verdura to design a Caged Ring in aquamarine and rose gold, owned by Dorothy Paley Hirshon. Verdura replaced the exotic birds with mixed-cut gemstones that “sang” softly as they rattled against one another in their gilded cage.

cage ring

In 2005, Verdura reintroduced the Caged Ring and over the years, it became a renewed icon of the house.

gilded cage

In 2018, Verdura adapted the design to create a lariat necklace, cuff and pendant earclips

Caged Ring

pendant earclips

 

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The Verdura Whitney Tiara Shines at the Met Gala

Verdura’s exceptional vintage “Feather Headdress” tiara shined at the 2022 MET Gala, the first time it has been worn since its debut in front of Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in 1957. An original commission for Mrs. John Hay (Betsey) Whitney, the tiara was worn by Hamish Bowles, Global Editor at Large, Vogue and Editor-in-Chief of The World of Interiors as he co-hosted the live coverage of the red-carpet arrivals.

Hamish Bowles

Part of Verdura’s Museum Collection, the yellow gold and platinum tiara designed by Fulco di Verdura as a feather headdress is composed of 36 leaves, set with 1,223 diamonds weighing 28.32 carats.

In 1957, American socialite and philanthropist Betsey Cushing Whitney commissioned Verdura to design a tiara for her to wear at the presentation of her husband, Ambassador John Hay Whitney, at the Court of St. James.

The Met Ball marks the first time the tiara has been worn since its 1957 debut for Queen Elizabeth II.

In lieu of the customary practice of renting a tiara in London it was important to Mrs. Whitney to represent American design and craftsmanship. The tiara, designed by Fulco di Verdura, was made in New York City workshops.

Tiara inspiration: “The Indian Headdress design had become an American symbol of freedom, made iconic by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the sculptor who designed the $10 gold coin in 1907 featuring the head of Lady Liberty wearing a war bonnet.”

The tiara has previously been shown at museums around the world including: “Jewels, Gems, and Treasures: Ancient to Modern,” Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, July 19, 2011 – June 1, 2014, “The Power of Style: Verdura at 75,” Verdura Flagship, October 14 – December 23, 2014, and “Allegories of America,” The New York Historical Society, April 29 – November 13, 2017.

Met Ball

The Costume Institute’s 2022 spring exhibition, In America: An Anthology of Fashion—the second of a two-part presentation—will explore the foundations of American fashion through a series of sartorial displays featuring individual designers and dressmakers who worked in the United States from the 19th to the mid-late 20th century.

TIARA FEATHER BRACELET

Inspired by Verdura’s 1957 tiara design for Betsey Whitney, the Tiara Feather Bracelet is made in the same workshop, from the same molds, as the original tiara. It’s adapted into a more wearable but equally impressive piece.

VINTAGE FIGURINE BROOCH

18k gold and platinum brooch set with one baroque pearl, two pyramid sapphires, nine cabochon rubies and 96 round diamonds. Made in 1971 to replace the client’s brooch from 1951. Originally from the collection of Margaret Kahn Ryan, also known as “Nin,” a close friend of Duke Fulco di Verdura.

FEATHER EARCUFFS

FEATHER EARCUFFS

Verdura’s 1950s design looks refreshingly bold and modern today.

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High Jewelry And High Fashion Houses

The practice of wearing jewelry dates far into prehistory, as even ancient societies were fascinated with the allure of a beautiful gemstone or precious metal. To this day, valuable materials such as emerald, gold, diamond, and platinum are often combined to create a stunning piece of jewelry. While these precious materials are admired for their independent beauty, their careful design and arrangement can create something that is truly wearable art.

 

Jewelry houses such as Van Cleef & Arpels, Harry Winston, Tiffany & Co., Cartier, and Bulgari have long dominated the world of fine jewelry . The criteria for “fine jewelry” are usually considered the quality of material and sophistication of design. These noted jewelry producers are most certainly qualified as “fine jewelers.” Known for their intensely creative designs, high-caliber materials, and overall quality, these designers have achieved legendary status in the world of jewelry and design. However, some designers take their creations a step further into the realm of high jewelry, or haute joaillerie.

Coral and Amethyst Earrings by JAR

Coral and Amethyst Earrings by JAR

WHAT IS HIGH JEWELRY?

When it comes to the most luxurious type of jewelry, high jewelry refers to the unique one-of-a-kind pieces from big name houses. But of course, these rare necklaces and rings and earrings can be confused with fine jewelry. So, what is high jewelry vs fine jewelry? The distinction is marginal, but it boils down to meticulous craftsmanship, incorporating the absolute best materials and creative thinking. Essentially, high jewelry is like haute couture fashions or a Rolls Royce: a significant step up in artistry and quality. Considered the highest form of jewelry, these pieces are the most expensive on the market, as they are usually one-of-a-kind. The cost of precious materials and overall craftsmanship allows these pieces to command the highest prices.

 

HIGH JEWELERS

While many high jewelry designers are known exclusively for their work in the realm of jewels and metals, it is not uncommon for other types of designers to try their hand at the craft. Names such as Chanel, Dior and Versace are typically associated with lavish garments and handbags, yet these designers also had a keen talent for jewelry creation.

 

CHANEL AND VERDURA

One such garment designer who has seamlessly crossed into the world of jewelry production is Coco Chanel. Having already established her fashion line, Chanel began dabbling with jewelry production. It was during this time of exploration that Chanel noticed the incredible talent of one of her textile designers, Duke Fulco di Verdura. Chanel promoted Verdura to the head designer of jewelry, and the pair began their entrance into the world of high jewelry. Today, Chanel’s high jewelry collection is regarded as one of the most beautiful and creative collections, and it is still keeping with Coco’s legacy.

 

Verdura remains a hallmark of the industry, creating stunning pieces that can outshine the finest of garments. These two jewelry legends are just a few examples of clothing designers who launched themselves into the world of jewelry. Verdura is also a highly successful jewelry producer known for elaborate and innovative designs. These sapphire cabochon earrings exemplify the brand’s taste for the eccentric.

Amethyst and Aquamarine Necklace by Verdura

Amethyst and Aquamarine Necklace by Verdura

Sapphire Cabochon and Gold Earrings by Verdura

Dior Another fashion giant who crossed into the world of rubies and diamonds is Christian Dior. Founded in Paris in 1947, the House of Dior began producing incredible styles that entranced the fashion world. Dior believed that jewelry, like clothing, was an integral part of an outfit. Therefore, he designed pieces to add to his collections that would serve as a part of an entire look. The brand opened its own jewelry division in 1998, and it has been captivating jewelry lovers since.

This Dior ring conveys the brand’s fascination with nature and truly reflects the concept of a high jewelry design. Christian Dior was enamored with the French countryside, and his designs truly radiate a pastoral aesthetic. For instance, this ring features a bouquet of gemstones, diamonds, and enamel work in a floral design. In this way, Dior’s jewelry, like its clothing, captures the essence of nature through design. High in concept, singular in design, and unmatched in terms of previous materials, this ring epitomizes high jewelry.

Diamond and Enamel Ring by Dior

Gemstone, Diamond and Enamel Ring by Dior

 

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Masterpiece of Verdura jewellery

Verdura jewellery

Over 100 jewels have been on exhibition at Masterpiece London 2012, June 28 – July 4, 2012. Verdura joined with the exhibitors of art, design and antiques from around the world at Masterpiece London 2012. Founded in 1939 by Duke Fulco di Verdura (born into Sicilian aristocracy at the turn of the century), its present-day collection exhibits a wide array of beautiful jewels. Available for purchase during the show, the collection includes estate and vintage pieces, along with the classics from the design archives.
Based on designs created by Fulco during his lifetime, its present-day collection also includes vintage estate pieces. Meanwhile, Duke Fulco di Verdura’s life was extraordinary from the start. Discovered by Coco Chanel in 1925 and brought to Paris to redesign her extensive jewelry collection, he began working with her. After eight years working with her, America beckoned. Backed by his friends Cole Porter and Vincent Astor, Verdura opened his salon above Fifth Avenue in 1939. Success was almost immediate for the boldly innovative Duke. He became a legend from Hollywood to the palaces of Europe for his elegant and whimsical jewelry. Today, women of style continue to adore Verdura’s classic elegance.

Masterpiece of Verdura

Born in 1898 into Sicilian aristocracy, Fulco di Verdura grew up amongst the glamour of European society, however he burned through what was left of his inheritance – mostly on a ‘1799’ themed costume party at his palazzo in Sicily, and was forced to earn his own living. In 1927 he started working for Coco Chanel, initially as a textile designer, later moving onto jewellery.

Amongst his most recognisable pieces were the bold, Byzantine-style Maltese cross bangles, worn frequently by Coco, one on each wrist. These are still in production today, a testament to his ability to design jewellery that has enduring appeal. After his death in 1979, the business was sold along with Verdura’s full archive of nearly 10,000 original jewellery designs, allowing the company to continue to produce his timeless designs today.

Gold pendant in the heart shape

In the 1930s, Coco Chanel asked Fulco to remount jewelry given to her by ex-lovers. The resulting design, the Maltese Cross Cuff, became a signature look for Chanel and the house of Verdura. In 2009, Verdura recreated 70 Maltese Cross Cuffs based on Fulco’s original design for Chanel.

Peacock tail brooch

American fine jeweler Verdura uses large gemstones, yellow gold, and natural objects such as seashells in its work. Verdura was the first jeweler to promote the use of colored stones with gold for everyday wear. It was also the first to transform classical motifs like coins, ropes, and caning into popular jewelry. Cole and Linda Porter were long-time clients; Linda commissioned a specially made Verdura cigarette case to commemorate the opening of each of her husband’s shows, including Around the World in Eighty Days and Kiss Me, Kate. In the fall of 2011, Verdura recreated designs made for screen stars like Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, and Joan Crawford.