Famous LGBTQ+ Jewellers: Past and Present

In honour of Pride month we wanted to write and commend some of the most talented jewellers who are part of the LGBTQ+ community.

Shaun Leane

Shaun Leane is one of the most admired jewellers of this generation by creating modern yet timeless pieces.

He trained as a traditional jeweller at the bench in Hatton Garden from 15 years old. At 18 he was making diamond tiaras for some of London’s prestigious jewellery houses such as Mappin & Webb, Garrards and Aspreys. The British Royal Family were one of his clients.

In 1993, he collaborated with Lee Alexander McQueen for various runway shows. Some of the techniques he used he had to teach himself in order to create the designs. One of the most spectacular and challenging pieces he created was a coiled corset. A concrete cast of the body of model Laura Morgan was made so Leane could create the corset to the exact measurements of Morgans torso. He spent 16 hours a day for 10 weeks to create it!

He made an amazing necklace for Boucheron with opening flowers which he could only have done because of his deep understanding of Victorian jeweller.


Joel Arthur Rosenthal didn’t start out his career in jewellery from a young age like many jewellers do. He moved from the USA to Paris to work as a screenwriter and then as a needle-stitcher where he experimented with unusually coloured yarn. His clientele at the time included Valentino and Hermes. One day he was asked if he could design a mount for a gemstone, and again, his career took off in a different direction.

He worked for a short time at Bulgari in New York before returning to Paris in 1977 to design pieces with affordable materials such as coral and moonstone. His success grew quickly despite being self-taught and he opened a non-descript shop at 7 Place Vendome making the shop exclusive.

JAR is well known for setting gemstones in a pave style and taking inspiration from fauna and flora. He often sets the gemstones against black alloy metals to produce a striking design. A good example and one of the most famous pieces is the butterfly brooch. He used amethysts, garnets, rubies, fire opals, diamonds, and sapphires.

Jean Schumberger

Born in the then German Mulhouse, France, Schlumberger came from a well-to-do family who were textile manufacturers. During his childhood he would draw constantly but his parents tried to discourage him by refusing to allow him to undertake formal training.

He began his career creating buttons for Elsa Schiaparelli. She later commissioned him to design costume jewellery for her firm.

After WWII he moved to New York and started designing clothes for Chez Ninon. Soon after he opened a jewellery salon with business partner Nicolas Bongard. In 1956, Walter Hoving, the president of Tiffany & Co asked Schumberger to design for his company and he did so till his retirement in the 1970s.

Schumbergers was inspired by nature, especially sea creatures and other animals which he put his own whimsical interpretations twist to his creations. One of which was the brooch ‘Bird on a Rock’ with the famous Tiffany Yellow Diamond. One of his repeat customers was Jacqueline Kennedy who wore so many of Schumbergers bracelets they were later known as ‘Jackie Bracelets’.

There are so many other jewellers within the LGBTQ+ community that we could speak about, but many decided not to be open about their sexuality in case is distracted from their work or even stopped them from receiving work. However, bringing this to forward helps for a deeper understanding of their processes, relationships and creativity. Living their truth allowed them to become the amazing artists we know today. Their queerness is a gift and should be celebrated. Happy Pride Month!!

Gemstone specialist GF Williams supplies a huge range of high quality coloured gemstones and is an expert and experienced gemstone supplier to designers, manufacturers, collectors and private clients.

Find out more about how GF Williams can fulfil your gemstone requirements by browsing our online gemstone catalogue or contacting our friendly team of gemstone experts on +44 (0) 207 405 5477 or email office@gfwilliams.co.uk