Arguably the world’s most iconic jewelry manufacturer, the history of Tiffany dates back to 1837 when 25-year-old Charles Lewis Tiffany and his friend John B Young opened a little stationery and fancy goods shop in New York City with the assistance of a $1,000 contribution from Charles’ father.
Creator Charles Lewis Tiffany, who set up the company’s first store on Broadway in New York with a $1,000 loan from his father.
Situated on Broadway, the shop quickly established itself as the go-to emporium for trendy ladies in search of stones and timepieces with a clean American fashion that represented a different departure from the opulence associated with the Victorian era.As the first American company to embrace the silver silver standard of using only metal that has been 92% pure, Tiffany received international recognition when it won the grand prize for silver craftsmanship at the 1867 World’s Fair, Paris. However, it was not until 1878 that the link between Tiffany jewelry along with the world’s greatest diamonds had been firmly etched into the history books.
That was the year that the company acquired an astounding 287.42ct rough Fancy yellow diamond from the Kimberley diamond mines in South Africa. Cut into a 128.54ct glistening stone, with 82 facets to make the most of its fire and sparkle, the diamond was set into a necklace worn by Audrey Hepburn in the publicity photos for Breakfast at Tiffany’s at 1961. Called the Tiffany Diamond, the canary-colored bead helped cement the jewellery brand’s reputation as the ultimate luxury destination and now it still resides at the Tiffany New York flagship store.A diamond, emerald and pearl brooch which was contained in Tiffany’s 1887 purchase of the French Crown Jewels.
Charles Lewis Tiffany also hit the headlines in 1887 when he shocked the world by purchasing one third of the French Crown Jewels, earning himself the nickname”The King of Diamonds”. The Art Nouveau movement was gaining pace and Louis’ innovative, nature-inspired stones, made using materials such as cherry, glass and enamels, put him in its forefront. In addition, he established the Tiffany Artistic antiques department at the Fifth Avenue shop to empower his jewelry and precious objects to be fabricated on site.
A Tiffany ad from the Wall Street Journal in 1966 comprising a necklace set with marquise-cut diamonds.
Throughout its history, Tiffany has not only dazzled the world with breathtakingly brilliant diamonds, but also introduced us to a stunning selection of previously unknown colored diamonds. Back in 1902, Tiffany unveiled kunzite, named after the legendary Tiffany gemologist George Kunz who discovered the purplish-pink stone in California. Tiffany also found morganite in Madagascar in 1910 and named it in honor of one of its most faithful customers – banking tycoon John Pierpont Morgan. These were followed by tanzanite in 1967 and tsavorite in 1974 and, today, Tiffany’s gemologists continue to travel to the remotest corners of the world to source the very glorious gemstones.To celebrate its 175th anniversary in 2012, Tiffany presented the Legacy collection, which incorporated both diamonds and a magnificent range of colored gemstones. The impressive line-up of spectacular creations contained a one-piece necklace set with a cushion-shaped 175.72ct morganite, and a velvety blue tanzanite ring featuring an intricate diamond open-work layout.
The title Tiffany & Co has been synonymous with romance, proposals and marriage since 1886 as it introduced the Tiffany Setting. Until then, diamond rings were set in bezels, but this new six-prong setting lifted the stone off the band to maximize the stone’s fire and radiance. Not merely did the Tiffany Setting revolutionize the engagement ring marketplace, in addition, it turned into the American jeweler to the best destination for couples embarking on married life. For millions of women all around the world, the mere sight of a duck egg blue box is enough to send them weak in the knees and a diamond solitaire out of another jewelry brand just won’t cut it.Today, Tiffany is still in the forefront of invention, as shown by the unveiling of a unique metal alloy, RUBEDO, to coincide with the 175th anniversary. With an elegant, yet warm, eyebrow tone, the alloy was made to mimic the radiant glow of morning throughout the skies and features in the Tiffany 1837 and Return to Tiffany jewelry sets.
Through the history of Tiffany, the newest has worked with jewelry designers, including Elsa Peretti, Paloma Picasso, and Jean Schlumberger, who is famous for his layered enamel. For over 40 years, the Open Heart necklace by Elsa Peretti has been the gift of choice to indicate landmarks such as an 18th or 21st birthday, or a gradua